Member Highlight – Tulalip Tribes

The Tulalip Tribes are the successors in interest to the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Skykomish and other allied bands signatory to the Treaty of Point Elliot of 1855. As part of the treaty, our ancestors ceded millions of acres of land in exchange for the recognition and protection of our inherent rights to sovereignty and self-determination. By signing and ratifying this Treaty, the United States affirmed that the tribes had inherent sovereignty over the lands, waters, territories and resources that they retained. The United States holds a trust responsibility to protect the Tribe’s rights and interests as reserved in the treaty.

Tulalip is an anglicized Lushootseed word meaning “Far to the end” and refers to how one enters the inner Tulalip Bay by going around the sand bar. It is the name of the bay on which the reservation was established in the Treaty of Point Elliot of 1855. The Indian people who have lived on this land since time immemorial and now centered on the reservation are known as the Tulalip Tribes. 

The Treaty of Point Elliot reflects our values in that it retains our connection to this land and therefore to our lifeways. Since time immemorial, the Tulalip Tribes have lived through change.  The most abrupt change has been the arrival of American colonists over the past 200 years. It is a blip in the history of our people, yet major changes have taken place in that time. We are a salmon people, yet our salmon are reduced to the point that we can no longer allow them to give themselves to us, some are on the verge of extinction. On top of this are changes to the atmosphere that is warming our world at unimaginable rates. Climate change makes the task of restoring our world all the more difficult. It is not enough to restore the processes of the land that make habitat, now we must account for warmer water, higher winter floods and lower summer flows. Our trees, the elk and the huckleberry may leave our area because it will no longer be suitable to them.  We must consider that eventuality.   

Because of our adherence to our values we are resilient.  We have been adjusting to climate change over the years as the effects have become evident.  Over the past several years we have been investigating specific effects of climate change on our people and our lands. We are developing methods to understand and, where possible, mitigate the effects. Sea level rise, increased fire danger on and off the reservation, drought, flood and heat are all changes we are considering as we go forward. 

We will continue together to create a healthy and culturally vibrant community (dəxʷqʷiq̓ʷcut ʔə ti ʔalʔaltəd tiʔiɫ gʷəɫ dibəɫ gʷədzadad).

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