Return of the Shores

The Suquamish Tribe is celebrating the return of 36 acres located on the shores of the Port Madison Indian Reservation.

“For us, it’s a homecoming. We will once again be able to walk the lands in the heart of our community,” said Suquamish Tribe Cultural Coordinator Tina Jackson.

On May 31, 2018 the 50-year lease of the area known as Suquamish Shores expires, returning control of the property to the Suquamish Tribe. Tribal government officials have been anticipating the return for more than two decades, working closely with the Tribal community to create a comprehensive long-term plan for the area.

“Our community has been clear in their desire to create a multi-use space, along with additional housing and facilities for our elders,” said Suquamish Tribal Council Vice-Chairman Bardow Lewis.

As part of the plan, the property will be redeveloped in three phases over the next ten years. Work on phase one, which includes community spaces, is scheduled to begin in late summer 2018. Plans call for a park near the Suquamish waterfront, along with walking trails and a culturally-themed playground connecting the Suquamish Museum to the Veteran’s Monument near the House of Awakened Culture.

A preliminary concept rendering of Phase 1 includes a heritage trail and cultural use areas.

“We have a lot of site preparation to do. There are a number of homes in disrepair that have to be removed before rebuilding can take place,” said Suquamish Tribe Department of Community Development Director Scott Crowell.

Construction of the first phase is expected to continue through 2019, with a scheduled completion date in 2020. Designs for phases two and three are still being finalized and will include staged elders facilities and housing.

“It makes sense that the Suquamish People would want to ensure the property is redeveloped for recreation, housing and cultural use. Traditionally, a large portion of that property was used as a community gathering space. A ballfield was built there in the late 1800’s and was utilized by the community for several decades before the property was leased,” said Suquamish Tribe Historic Preservation Officer Dennis Lewarch.

Early 1900s’ photograph of a baseball game at the original Suquamish Ballfield. Courtesy of the Suquamish Museum.

The subject of the lease has been a contentious issue in the Suquamish Tribal community over the last five decades. Many members voiced their opposition to the move in Tribal Council meetings when the lease was being considered in 1967. However, faced with limited resources and the need to provide basic government services, the Suquamish Tribal Council determined the lease was the best course of action for the future of the Tribe.

“Back then, we didn’t have any money at all. Tribal Council Meetings were held in people’s living rooms. Paperwork, applications, travel to BIA offices in Everett and Portland just to maintain our treaty rights; it was all done by volunteers, on our own time with our own money,” said Tribal Elder Rich Demain, who served on Tribal Council in 1961.

The agreement for the 50-year lease began in July 1968, with Chief Seattle Properties, a non-tribal corporation, paying the Tribe $7,250 annually for the land. The firm then profited from sub-leasing parcels to individuals looking to build on the waterfront property. Chief Seattle Properties later walked away from the project, leaving those who built homes and the Tribe to sort out the details of their individual leases- a process that would take several years and test the relationships between Tribal Members and their neighbors living on the Port Madison Indian Reservation.

Read the Seattle Time 2007 guest editorial on the Suquamish Shores 

“It’s certainly been a long road. I have looked forward to this day for 50 years, and will celebrate when we will be in control of our own resources again,” said Tribal Elder Ed Carriere.

Suquamish Tribe Chairman Elected ATNI President

Suquamish Chairman and newly-elected Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) President Leonard Forsman addressing attendees at the ATNI Annual Fall Convention in Spokane, WA. Photo by Robin Sigo

SUQUAMISH, WA- The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) Executive Board has a new president. Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman was elected to the position in a close race against fellow ATNI member and Confederated Tribes of the Colville Chairman Mike Marchand.
“I am honored and humbled to be elected ATNI President. ATNI has a legendary reputation as an intertribal organization that is committed to preserving culture, language, fishing and wildlife habitat, and healthy tribal communities. I look forward to leading our organization in continuing to fulfill its mission to advocate for the tribal rights reserved through treaties, executive orders and other agreements. The Tribes of the Northwest are committed to protecting their homelands and their ancient way of life and I will work hard to help accomplish this sacred duty,” said Forsman.
Forsman was elected September 20, 2017 during the ATNI Fall Annual Convention at The Davenport Grand in Spokane, WA. He replaces President of the Quinault Indian Nation Fawn Sharp, who held the position for 2 terms and did not seek re-election.
“The current climate in Washington D.C. requires us to remain vigilant in our efforts to protect our sovereignty, hunting and fishing rights, health care, education, veterans, sacred places and natural resources from budget cuts and policies and regulatory changes that violate the trust responsibility. We must also work with our allies to protect our housing and economic development programs and initiatives,” added Forsman.
Forsman, a 20-year Tribal Government veteran, is a well-known consensus builder in Indian Country, serving as the Co-chair for the Tribal Leaders Congress on Education, Vice President of the Washington Indian Gaming Association and Vice President of the Federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation along with several other intergovernmental committees and organizations.
“Leonard is a dear friend and champion not only for the Suquamish Tribe, but for all of Indian Country. I know that he will serve all the Northwest Tribes and will represent our interests across the country. I am grateful for his leadership and look forward to working with him as ATNI President,” said National Congress of American Indian (NCAI) President and Swinomish Tribal Chairman Brian Cladoosby.
The ANTI Executive Board is made up of 7 positions, with elected officers serving staggered 3-year terms. In addition to Forsman, ATNI Member Tribes also re-elected Theresa Sheldon of Tulalip as 2nd Vice President and Taylor Aalvik of Cowlitz as Assistant Secretary this year.
About Leonard Forsman
Leonard Forsman is Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe, a position he has held since 2005. Previously, he was a research archaeologist for Larson Anthropological/Archaeological Services in Seattle, Washington from 1992 to 2003. From 1984 to 1990, he was Director of the Suquamish Museum in Suquamish, WA, and has served on the Museum Board of Directors since 2010. His experience and expertise earned him a federal appointment to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, of which he is now vice-chair, where he assists in promoting the preservation, enhancement and productive use of the nation’s historic resources. In addition, Forsman has held the position of Vice President at the Washington Indian Gaming Association since 2005. He has also been a member of the Washington State Historical Society Board since 2007, the Suquamish Tribal Cultural Cooperative Committee since 2006, and the Tribal Leaders Congress on Education since 2005. Forsman received a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Washington and an M.A. in Historic Preservation from Goucher College.
About ATNI
Formed in 1953, ATNI represents 57 Northwest tribal governments in from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northern California, Southeast Alaska and Western Montana. The organization provides a forum for sharing information on matters of interest to its member Tribes allowing them to develop consensus on matters of mutual importance, and assists member Tribes in their governmental and programmatic development consistent with the goals of self-determination and self-sufficiency, and provides for effective public relations and education programs with non-Indian communities. Through its conferences, forums, networks and alliances, it is the intent of ATNI to represent and advocate for the interests of its member Tribes to national Indian and non-Indian organizations and governments. For more information about ATNI or to obtain an agenda of events, visit them online at www.atnitribes.org

New Suquamish Museum Exhibit- We Are The Ancestors

On September 16, 2017 the Suquamish Museum will unveil their newest exhibit We Are The Ancestors – Photography: Through the Eyes of Suquamish. The exhibit features photographs taken by Suquamish Tribal Members of contemporary life on the Port Madison Indian Reservation.

Suquamish Museum Curator, Lydia Sigo (Suquamish), and community curator, Heather Purser (Suquamish), invited Suquamish Tribal members to submit photographs for the exhibit, giving them the opportunity to tell their own stories through images. Originally proposed by Purser, the exhibit was additionally appealing Sigo as a way to continue adding images to the extensive photograph collection documenting contemporary Suquamish families begun with the Museum’s founding Oral History program in the 1970s.

The photographs will be displayed in the Museum’s smaller gallery through March 11, 2018.  The Museum is open to the public daily from 10 am to 5 pm (excluding Holidays).  Visit the Suquamish Museum online for more information or contact them at (360) 394-8499 or @SuquamishMuseum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About the Suquamish Museum
The Suquamish Tribal Council chartered the Suquamish Museum in 1993 to collect preserve, study, exhibit and teach the living culture and history of the Suquamish Tribe and its Salish neighbors.  Located in the heart of Suquamish Village, the permanent exhibit Ancient Shores ~ Changing Tides chronicles the Tribe’s presence since time immemorial.

Suquamish Foundation’s Time To Gather Raises 50K

A silent auction table at the Time to Gather event, held on Friday, March 24 at Kiana Lodge.

The Suquamish Foundation held its annual “A Time to Gather” fundraising event Friday, March 24, at Kiana Lodge. The sold-out crowd of enthusiastic bidders helped the Foundation reach its $50,000 fundraising goal, the proceeds targeted for a planned playground, the Suquamish Museum, and benefiting programs from the broader community.
Guests were welcomed by Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman and Foundation Manager, Angela Flemming who presented a brief history of the event, its purpose and importance to the Suquamish Tribe. Happy attendees enjoyed a delicious meal of either cedar-wrapped salmon, apricot chicken or braised eggplant, all prepared by the experienced staff at Kiana Lodge.
Standout live auction items included a traditional medicinal herbs gathering excursion with Noel Purser-Rosario, a Port Madison Indian Reservation tour led by Tribal Chairman, Leonard Forsman, two limited edition serigraphs by Preston Singletary, a 3 day-2 night Alaska Fishing Adventure, and an original brush and ink painting of the Traveling Coyote by Emma Noyes. Bidding was spirited and exceeded the valued price for the benefit of the Suquamish Foundation.

Suquamish Tribe General Council 2017 Election

In addition to being reelected at Suquamish Tribal Chairman, Leonard Forsman was also honored as a new member of the Suquamish Elders- a designation given to Tribal Members when they turn 55 years-old.

The Suquamish Tribe annual General Council meeting was held March 18-19, 2017 at Kiana Lodge. In addition to hearing reports from departments throughout government and business operations, Suquamish Tribal Members also had the opportunity to vote for Chairman and Secretary of the Suquamish Tribal Council. A total of 355 Tribal Members voted in the election.

Two people ran for the Chairmanship, incumbent Leonard Forsman and Wayne George. Forsman won re-election with 68 percent of the vote. There were four candidates nominated for Secretary. Nigel Lawrence was re-elected to the position with 120 votes. Matt Hawk Sr. ran and received 113 votes. Votes and remaining candidates were Randy George (78) and Linda Holt (45).

Forsman has served as Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe since 2005. In addition to his position on council, he is also the Vice-Chairman of the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a master of arts in historic preservation from Goucher College.

This is the third time Lawrence has been elected to the Suquamish Tribal Council, and his second consecutive term. In addition to his position on council, Lawrence is the Director of the Marion Forsman-Boushie Early Learning Center and a graduate of Eastern Michigan University.

The council consists of four officers; Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary; and three at-large Council members. The Chairman only votes in case of a tie. Tribal Council officers and members serve three-year staggered terms. The Tribal Council meets on alternate Mondays and as needed throughout the year. For more information, visit the Government section of our website.