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"Dr. Joseph," chief medecine (i.e. medicine) man of the Swinomish Reservation - Photo by O.J. Wingren., La Conner, Wash. LCCN2015645623 (cropped).jpg
Dr. Joseph, a Swinomish medicine man, c. 1907
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Northern Whidbey Island, Western Skagit County
traditionally Lushootseed, English
traditional tribal religion, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
other Coast Salish peoples
La Conner, Washington, Swinomish Channel

The Swinomish /ˈswɪnəmɪʃ/ SWIN-ə-mish[2] (Lushootseed: swədəbš) are a historically Lushootseed-speaking Native American people in western Washington state in the United States. The Tribe lives in the southeastern part of Fidalgo Island in northern Puget Sound, near the San Juan Islands, in Skagit County, Washington. Skagit County is located about 70 miles (110 km) north of Seattle.

Swinomish people are enrolled in the federally recognized Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, also known as the Swinomish Tribe, which is headquartered in Swinomish Village, across the Swinomish Channel from La Conner.[3]


The Swinomish people speak a subdialect of the Northern dialect of the Lushootseed language.[4]


A skate from the Swinomish fishtrap, Tulalip Indian Agency, Washington, 1938

The lifestyle of the Swinomish, like many Northwest Coast indigenous peoples, involves the fishing of salmon and collecting of shellfish. They reserved the right to fish and harvest in their usual and accustomed areas in the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855.[5]


The Swinomish moved onto reservation lands after the signing of the Point Elliott Treaty in 1855.[5] The Swinomish police department was the second in the U.S.--and the first in Washington State—to be state-accredited.[citation needed]

Native American Advocacy[edit]

The current Swinomish Chairman, Brian Cladoosby, is the 21st president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).[6]


  1. ^ "Swinomish Indian Tribal Community | NCAI". www.ncai.org. Retrieved 2023-01-28.
  2. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 468. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4.
  3. ^ Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. (retrieved 28 July 2009)
  4. ^ Lushootseed Language (Whulshootseed, Puget Sound Salish). Native Languages of the Americas. (retrieved 28 July 2009)
  5. ^ a b Mapes, Lynda V. "Swinomish are told to restrict shellfish." The Seattle Times. 19 April 2007 (retrieved 28 July 2009)
  6. ^ "NCAI Leadership | NCAI".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°24′05″N 122°31′37″W / 48.4014°N 122.5270°W / 48.4014; -122.5270