May Suquamish News Available Now

Suquamish Tribe extends modified operations

The Suquamish Tribal Council has extended the order on Temporary Remote Tribal Government Operations until May 18, 2020.

This action was taken to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The full resolution can viewed here.

For information about how to contact Tribal government staff or obtain services during this time, please check here.

Update from Chairman Forsman

An update from Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman on Tribal operations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Chiefstick Case Needs Further Review

By Suquamish Tribal Council
(Published in the Kitsap Sun, April 23, 2020)

The news that Kitsap County will not press charges against the police officer who caused the death of Stonechild Chiefstick is of concern to the Suquamish Tribe. That local police were unable to manage an uncomfortable situation involving a person of color without violence has become all too common. We believe that this was a preventable homicide. This father of five, a valued member of our community, did not have to die.

There were other options. He could have been asked to leave the crowded July 3 gathering when it was evident that he was experiencing either a mental health or substance abuse episode. That opportunity was clearly present during the first encounter with the police, as shown in the police body cam footage.

Had police officers used de-escalation methods and more skillfully handled the interaction, the encounter could have ended peacefully. Stonechild Chiefstick’s children could still have their father. Poulsbo residents could have looked forward to future July 3rd celebrations free from the remembered trauma of a violent death. More of the Tribal community would have been able to visualize Poulsbo as a safe place to shop and visit.

While we recognize that the decision about whether to prosecute a particular officer for a particular act is a complex one, we have concerns that extend beyond the scope of this decision, in particular the failure to use the earlier contact as an opportunity to de-escalate the situation or to remove Chiefstick from the premises.

Officer Keller may not be charged, but he is still responsible. The other officers at the scene should also be held to account. In failing to de-escalate this situation, they contributed to the death of one man, the irreplaceable loss of a father, son, brother, and partner to others. And their actions traumatized an entire community.

We look forward to the Poulsbo Police Department’s internal review of this incident, and expect it will be thorough and objective, and address the behavior of all the officers at the scene. The Suquamish Tribe will continue to review the report, and will have further statements and/or actions based on this review.

Earth Day Message from Chairman Forsman

Wishing you well on this, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Chief Seattle (Suquamish/Duwamish), whose words are cited by environmentalists worldwide, said in 1854: “Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change.”

In his lifetime, Chief Seattle, witnessed extraordinary change. He was there when the first contact with a European explorer occurred. And decades later, as settlers poured into the Puget Sound region, he secured the sovereign territories we now call reservations.

He assured that we who are alive seven generations later would have the right to hunt and fish, and to visit the graves of our ancestors. On his gravesite here in Suquamish are embossed words from his famous speech.

“Our ancestors never forget this beautiful world that gave them being,” he said. “They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains…and every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished.”

In 1970, the first Earth Day was launched by people who likewise treasured the natural world. Shortly after, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act were enacted, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created.

Today those accomplishments are under attack. EPA regulations that protect air, water, wetlands, and natural habitats are being weakened and dismantled.

The Suquamish Tribe has joined many other Tribes and organizations in the Northwest to fight this short-sighted and greed-driven deregulation. We oppose allowing polluters to make our seafood more toxic and permitting reckless development to block fish passage and destroy sensitive wetlands. This destruction is an affront to our treaty rights and the rights of all our people to protect our critical habitat.

“Today is fair. Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds,” said Chief Seattle.

Today, as we shelter in place amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the days do indeed feel dark. Few of us imagined this was to come. And yet it was not hard to see that things were changing. Like the pandemic, which at first seemed a distant threat, the climate crisis is suddenly upon us, and it is endangering sea life and oceans along with shorelines, glaciers, food supplies, and forests.

“Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people,” Chief Seattle said.

On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we should honor this land and celebrate its waters, and we should assess our way of life and its impacts on fragile ecosystems.

Together, we must push back against the President’s misguided deregulatory efforts, and renew the fight that was started 50 years ago with the same passion for life, and love for our lands and waters that got us this far.

“This too shall pass”

A message from Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman.

Tribal Government Operations (updated 4/6)

The Tribal Administration facilities will be closed to the public, and services will be suspended, effective April 6 – May 4, 2020. We will have limited staff available to respond to urgent issues with staff working remotely at a limited capacity.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please call (360) 598-4334, which is monitored regularly. You may also contact our response team by sending emails to:

The Suquamish Police Department

The Police Department lobby will be available to drop off child support payments, applications, housing payments, and other government-related paper­work. Staff and officers can also forward messages to other Tribal departments as needed.

Lobby Hours:
Mon-Fri – 8am to 4:30pm

Front Desk: (360) 598-4334
Emergency: 911

Telework and On-call Services

Child Tribal Welfare: (360) 394-8480

Communications: (360) 394-7184/7102

Community Development: (360) 394-8415

Emergency Work Orders: (360) 900-7050

Emergency Utilities: (360) 710-3223

Elders Meals: (360) 394-8413

Health Benefits: (360) 394-8466

Human Resources: (360) 394-8409

Human Services: (360) 394-8465

IT Help Desk: (360) 394-8485

Finance: (360) 394-8430

Fisheries: (360) 394-8438

Tribal Court: (360) 394-8697

Wellness Center

Therapists are still meeting with existing clients through phone/video sessions. A contact list of providers is available here.


Front desk: (360) 394-8558
Wellness Fax – (360) 598-1724
Emergency: 911
Crises Hotline: (888) 910-0416

Suquamish Hosts Traveling Canoes

Canoes landing in Suquamish in 2009

Canoe season is well underway and here on the Port Madison Indian Reservation we will soon be welcoming our relatives to our shores for the Suquamish hosting of this year’s Tribal Journey, Power Paddle to Puyallup.

We expect our hosting to be rather large this year, with dozens of canoe families arriving on July 25, 2018 for an overnight stop on their way to Puyallup. When they arrive, we will welcome their canoes from the water and invite them to share songs, dances and meals with us at the House of Awakened Culture before we join them on the way to Puyallup the next morning.

Many of our neighbors and community members are familiar with Tribal Journeys. In Suquamish, we have been a part of the cultural resurgence since the 1989 Washington Centennial Paddle to Seattle. It is a deeply cultural event that provides us an opportunity to practice our traditional ways with one another, reaffirm our heritage and teach our youth.

We appreciate our friends who have volunteered throughout the years to assist us in making our relations feel welcome. For new neighbors and community members just learning about Tribal Journeys, we would like to share a few details about the event that will help ensure we provide the best possible hosting for our relatives and guests again this year.

Our relatives will arrive by water, landing in canoes near the Charles Lawrence Memorial Boat Ramp in downtown Suquamish between noon and 4 p.m. on July 25, 2018. The exact time of their arrival will depend on the weather, and tides. This year, we expect to welcome 65-75 canoes along with their support teams and ground crews. Community members and neighbors often watch the ceremonial welcoming from along with waterfront. If you plan to attend, we ask that you be respectful of the ceremonial welcoming area on the beach. Feel free to take and post photos on social media, record and stream live. However, we ask that you do so from the bluff above the beach or the dock, not from the beach where the ceremony is taking place.

As part of our hosting, we provide a large outdoor meal for our guests, and those in our community who are participating in Tribal Journeys. As our traditions teach us, we serve our elders, those pulling in the canoes and our guests traveling for the journey first – then, we serve our tribal community and volunteers working the event.

After our meal, canoe families will gather at the House of Awakened Culture to share songs and dances. Each canoe family is given the opportunity to share. With dozens of canoe families expected this year, the festivities may last well into the evening hours. Many of our relations and guests watch the event from inside the House of Awakened Culture. If you plan to attend and find yourself inside the house during protocol, please make sure to stay off the protocol floor (where dances and songs are shared). Additionally, listen to see if a song or dance should not be recorded. Canoe families usually make an announcement beforehand.

We expect around 5,000 campers the evening of July 25, 2018. Most visiting canoe families will camp for the night in areas we designate for Tribal Journeys camping including the green space across the street from the Tribal Center on Suquamish Way, the Football Field near the Suquamish Fitness Center and several individual camping sites throughout Suquamish. Signs are clearly posted at all camping areas. All camping areas will be cleared by the evening of July 26, 2018 when the canoe families move on to Muckleshoot, the next stop on the journey to Puyallup.

For a schedule of events in Suquamish, click here.

For more information on the journey this year to Puyallup, visit

For more information on Tribal Journeys, visit:


Suquamish Tribe Responds to DOJ’s Memorandum Regarding Marijuana Enforcement

SUQUAMISH, WA, January 4, 2018- The Suquamish Tribe has enjoyed a productive working relationship with the State of Washington and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in our efforts to address the unique challenges faced by Indian Tribes in states that have legalized marijuana for medical, recreational or agricultural uses. After Washington State legalized recreational marijuana, the Suquamish Tribe was forced to address the issue of marijuana regulation in its Indian Country. The tribal-state system we use today was developed over years of cooperative government-to-government work with DOJ, state initiative and legislation, carefully negotiated State-Tribal Compacts and six DOJ guidance memoranda. Despite the existence of this effective and well regulated system, DOJ today elected to rescind all six guidance memoranda without consultation.

“State and Tribal laws were created and crafted in response to the challenges marijuana presented to our communities. We agree with Governor Inslee that the Washington State system addresses these problems in a manner that is well regulated, keeps out criminals, protects it from falling into the hands of children, cracks down on driving under the influence, and carefully tracks production to prevent cross-border transfer,” said Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman.  “The Suquamish Tribe will continue to work closely with Washington State to best protect our people far into the future,” added Forsman.

“This is not only about the marijuana industry, it is about sovereignty, voters rights and access to safe marijuana that since becoming legal has resulted in the creation of good paying jobs and much-needed Tribal tax revenue that allows us to buy our lands back and invest in community development,” said Suquamish Tribal Treasurer Robin Sigo.

About Suquamish Tribe
Suquamish is a federally recognized sovereign Tribe. The village of Suquamish and seat of the Suquamish Tribal Government are located on the Port Madison Indian Reservation, along the shores of the Puget Sound near Seattle, WA. The Suquamish Tribe provides comprehensive government, economic and social programs to approximately 1,100 tribal members. In the last two decades, the Suquamish Tribe has become a key economic partner in the region, operating several Port Madison Enterprises business ventures, a growing seafood company and performing property management duties for lease land on the reservation.