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Lummi reservation map-svgver.svg
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Whatcom County
English, Lummi
American Indian pantheism, Christianity, other
Related ethnic groups
other Coast Salish peoples

The Lummi (/ˈlʌmi/ LUM-ee; Lummi: Xwlemi [χʷləˈmi]; also known as Lhaq'temish), governed by the Lummi Nation, are a Native American tribe of the Coast Salish ethnolinguistic group in western Washington state in the United States. The tribe primarily resides on and around the Lummi Indian Reservation, at 48°45′59″N 122°38′20″W / 48.76639°N 122.63889°W / 48.76639; -122.63889 to the west of Bellingham and 20 miles (32 km) south of the Canadian border, in western Whatcom County.


The Lummi, and most of the other northwest coastal tribes included in the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855, were paid a total of $150,000 for their lands and paid an additional $15,000 in relocation costs and expenses. That would equate to over $4.2 million in economic power in 2013. The reservation has a land area of 54.378 km² (20.996 sq mi), that includes the Lummi Peninsula, and uninhabited Portage Island. The Lummi nation is the original inhabitants of the Puget Sound lowlands.

In pre-colonial times, the tribe migrated seasonally between many sites including Point Roberts, Washington, Lummi Peninsula, Portage Island, as well as sites in the San Juan Islands, including Sucia Island.

Many tribal members were Christianized in the late nineteenth century by the Catholic Oblate order.[1]

The traditional lifestyle of the Lummi, like many Northwest Coast tribes, consisted of the collecting of shellfish, gathering of plants such as camas and different species of berries, and most importantly involved the fishing of salmon. The Lummi developed a fishing technique known as "reef netting". Reef netting was used for taking large quantities of fish in salt water. Lummi had reef net sets on Orcas Island, San Juan Island, Lummi Island and Fidalgo Island, Portage Island and near Point Roberts and Sandy Point.[2] Following steady increases in the number of individuals and firms fishing in areas traditionally fished by the Lummi nation, the nation fought for and gained limited protection under the law for the right to fish in their traditional manner.[3]

From July 30 to August 4, 2007, the Lummi hosted their first potlatch since the 1930s, the Tribal Canoe Journeys Paddle to Lummi event. 68 canoeing families paddled hand-made canoes to the Lummi Reservation from parts of Washington and British Columbia.[4]


Main article: Lummi language

The Lummi language (Xwlemi Chosen, IPA: [xʷləmi tʃɔsən]) is more precisely a dialect of a language called North Straits Salish.

Population living on the reservation[edit]

Lummi woman, ca. 1907-1930, photograph by Edward S. Curtis

It is estimated that there are 6,590 people living on the Lummi Reservation. Roughly 2,564 of these people are enrolled tribal members, 665 are either related to or live with an enrolled tribal member, and 3,361 are not tribal members nor are they affiliated with the Lummi Nation.

There are approximately 1,864 homes located on the reservation. Approximately 697 of these have an enrolled Lummi living in the home; thus, roughly 1,167 homes on the reservation do not house a tribal member. The 2000 census official numbers were 4,193 persons residing on its territory, of whom 1,828 (43.6 percent) were whites, and only 2,114 (50.4 percent) were of solely Native American heritage.

Enrollment information[edit]

As of April 2010 there are 4,483 enrolled tribal members. 49.6% of the enrolled population is female; 50.4% of the population being male.

Age distribution[edit]

The median age of tribal members is 29. 31.8% of the enrolled population is 18 or younger. 11.6% of the enrolled population is 55 or older.

Location of enrolled members[edit]

According to current studies conducted by the Lummi Nation, approximately 78% of the enrolled Lummi tribal members live either on or near the reservation boundaries. Enrolled Lummi tribal members have an average household size of approximately 4.5 persons.

Workforce information[edit]

A recent collaborative study conducted by the Lummi Nation and Northern Economics Inc. found the following information pertaining to the Lummi Nation workforce.

Highest educational attainment[edit]

Among enrolled Lummis aged 25–64: 15.1% do not have a high school diploma or a GED; 33.8% have either a high school or GED degree; 27.1% have some college experience; 14.9% have a two-year (AA or AS) degree; 7.5% have a bachelor's degree; and 1.6% have attained a graduate or professional degree.


61% of the adult population (ages 18–64) is employed—moreover, the labor workforce participation rate is 74%. The unemployment rate of Lummi’s workforce is estimated to be 3 times the local average, which puts the most current figure at 25.1%. The median monthly income for employed Lummi tribal members is approximately $2,000.

See also[edit]

  • Lummi stick, percussion instrument whose name is borrowed from the tribal name.


  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Lummi Indians". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  2. ^ Microsoft Word - Boldt Decision8.5x11 layout for web.doc
  3. ^ Ceely, Seth (2015). "Lummi Fishing Rights and the Law". The Apollonian Revolt. Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Lummi hosts largest potlatch in 70 years : ICT [2007/08/13]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]