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Seattle’s Duwamish Tribe denied federal recognition

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Environmental activists from the Duwamish Tribe protest the arrival of the Polar Pioneer, an oil drilling rig owned by Shell Oil, as it arrives on May 14, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — The federal government has again rejected a Seattle tribe’s petition for federal recognition as an Indian tribe.

The U.S. Department of Interior issued a final decision last week denying the Duwamish official recognition, which would have entitled them to federal benefits such as housing, fishing rights and the possibility of operating a casino.

In its decision, the agency said there wasn’t enough evidence to show the current group continued from the previously existing community or that it evolved as a group from the historical Duwamish tribe.

Tribal chairwoman Cecile Hansen told KUOW Radio it’s devastating. She says her tribe was the one that welcomed everyone.

The Seattle Times says the Duwamish have been called Seattle’s first people and its leader, Chief Seattle, lent the city of Seattle its name.

The tribe of about 600 began its legal quest for federal status in 1977. The case has had twists and turns.


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  • jeff

    If this tribe couldn’t get the federal government to recognize them under this administration, they should give it up and live like the rest of us.

  • Sara

    The residents of Seattle now know a sliver of what it was like for the natives to be taken over, burned out of their longhouses, and sent to reservations. Just like the fate of the Duwamish we are not recognizing the folly of valuing the new rich over the working class that prospered and lived here. The powers that be are greedy and won’t recognize the great native culture that was here so they dont have to give them valuable land/businesses. When old Seattlites complain about getting pushed out of the city due to extreme rent raises ect we are just told to move away too and make room for the tech money. Feels awful but now we have some empathy for the real original inhabitants! Recognize the tribe and the unfair treatment of retirees, seniors/disabled, and humanitarian workers like nurses who cant compete with high tech wages. The socio-economic holocaust is killing people quietly and slowly. When your rent doubles in 60 days and you become homless for no reason other than greed you will succumb to a fate of early death. Keep fighting tribal members! Go to the construction sites and shut them down for archaeological purposes. This is a big reason you are not recognized. They couldn’t build as fast if they had to conserve artifacts!!!