Tribe Delivers to Elders in Need

Dozens of Suquamish Tribe staff members came together at the House of Awakened Culture on Thursday and Friday morning to prepare boxes of groceries for home delivery to eligible Tribal Elders in need residing in the local area. The groceries were primarily for Elders who did not have family members in the immediate area who could shop for them.

The deliveries will supply the Elders with enough food to last two weeks.
Made possible by the blessing of Tribal Council, the food packaging and delivery was accomplished through the joint efforts of Human Services, Community Development, Emergency Management, Maintenance, Clearwater Casino Resort, and Suquamish Tribe Administration.

Suquamish Tribal Court available for limited operations

The Suquamish Tribal Court will be available for limited operations, until further notice.

All bail hearings and arraignments for in custody defendants will still be held in the time required by Tribal Code. The court is also still available to hear all matters of an urgent nature, including requests for protection orders and emergency child welfare orders. In order to minimize the spread of Covid-19, the court will use video/conference calls for all hearings.

For more details, see the Emergency Administrative Order below.

If you have any questions, contact the court clerk at (360) 394-8697 or

Chairman Forsman provides update on Covid-19 Response

Chairman Leonard Forsman provides this March 17 video update to the Suquamish Tribal community on the Tribe’s responses to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Questions, comments, or concerns can be sent to:



Suquamish Tribe Chairman Calls on U.S. Congress to Adopt Native Voting Rights Modeled on Washington State

Washington State’s Native American Voting Rights Act is a model the rest of the United States should follow as the 2020 election season begins. This is the message brought to Washington, DC by Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe and President of the Affiliated Tribe of Northwest Indians.

Forsman testified today before the Elections Subcommittee of the Committee on House Administration at a hearing entitled “Native American Voting Rights: Exploring Barriers and Solutions.” The hearing took place at the Longworth House Office Building.

Forsman described the many barriers to voting facing Native people across the United States.

Among them, jurisdictions that refuse to accept Tribal IDs for those registering to vote. Some tribal citizens also lack the type of home addresses that correlate with the standard address system. Instead, many use PO Boxes or other addresses not accepted for establishing residency.

A third barrier is the locations of ballot drop boxes that are often outside of reservation boundaries and available only for limited hours. “This created a hardship for many tribal citizens that do not have means of transportation,” said Forsman.

Washington State’s Native American Voting Rights Act, or NAVRA, adopted by the state legislature on March 5, 2019, helped fix each of these challenges. Forsman urged the committee to consider similar provisions as Congress addresses voting rights issues nationwide.

Specifically, Washington’s NAVRA allows:

  • Tribal citizens in Washington State to use tribal IDs to register to vote.
  • Tribes to request that at least one ballot box be located on their reservation. The tribe can choose the location.
  • Tribal citizens to use nontraditional residential addresses for voter registration. The location of the tribally designated ballot box can serve as their address, which is especially important for homeless citizens and others without a stable residence.

“Since the passage of NAVRA, tribes in Washington are now partners with the State,” Forsman said. “The Suquamish Tribe is now able to have direct involvement with the state in planning and ensuring that our people do not face obstacles while exercising their right to vote.”

Forsman, who is also a member of the Executive Board for the National Congress of American Indians, noted NCAI strongly favors legislation such as HR 1694, the Native American Voting Rights Act of 2019, to remove voting barriers.


Call for Artists for 2020 “A Time to Gather” Benefit Dinner Auction

The Suquamish Foundation invites donations of art from traditional and contemporary Native artists for its 2020 annual dinner and auction, “A Time to Gather.”  The proceeds will benefit the Suquamish Foundation.  Works such as carvings, drums, weavings and baskets, jewelry, shawls and blankets, prints, drawings and sculpture are sought for the auction.  Artists making donations will receive recognition in the auction catalog and two complimentary tickets to the event.

This is an excellent opportunity for emerging and established artists to support the cultural resurgence of the Suquamish People and to have their works seen by the community, business leaders, government officials and patrons of the arts.  Previous year’s auction has been sold out in advance and attracted an audience from throughout the Puget Sound Region.  Our guests will enjoy a gourmet dinner of traditional foods followed by the silent and live auctions.

WHEN:  Target date to have all donations received is by March 15th, 2020 in order to allow us time to photograph and catalog each piece.  A description of the piece and one or two sentences about the artist is encouraged.

For more information please contact Margeaux Lewis at (360)394-8453 or by email


Suquamish Tribe wins land use case at George’s Corner

Legal victory safeguards Tribe’s Grovers Creek Hatchery

Kitsap County must comply by Dec. 20

By Melody Allen

George’s Corner is a rural crossroads development located 1.5 miles west of Kingston, Washington, at the intersection of Hansville Road and State Route 104 in northern Kitsap County.   Under the State of Washington’s Growth Management Act (GMA), George’s Corner is a special land use designation called a “Limited Area of More Intense Rural Development” (LAMIRD).  When the GMA was passed in 1990, State legislators recognized the presence of small commercial development pockets that primarily serve the local rural community where there might be a gas station, store and restaurant.  The purpose of the GMA LAMIRD requirements and designation is to provide a tool for local governments to legally define the boundaries of pre-existing urban uses before July 1, 1990 that allows those uses to continue within the LAMIRD boundaries while at the same time placing constraints on future urban sprawl outside these designated boundaries into rural lands.  The George’s Corner LAMIRD boundaries were established in 2004 and encompass specific portions of each of the four corners at the crossroads.

In 2018, Kitsap County proposed to expand the southeast corner of the George’s Corner LAMIRD that would allow development to encroach closer to critical wetland areas associated with Grovers Creek.  George’s Corner is located in the Grovers Creek Watershed and contains a wetland system associated with Grovers Creek that drains to Miller Bay where the Tribe operates the Grovers Creek Hatchery, a Chinook and chum salmon hatchery.   Grovers Creek has unique features which make it particularly sensitive to contaminates found in stormwater draining from impervious surfaces.

Impacts to Grovers Creek from increased development, increased traffic, and urbanization directly impact the hatchery as evidenced by poor water quality and low or no water quantity flowing to the hatchery between mid-May to September.  During that time, surface water from Grovers Creek is unusable for rearing salmonids due to its poor quality.  These impacts, specific to Kitsap County between 2006 and 2011, are well documented in the Suquamish Tribe’s Chapter in The 2016 State of Our Watersheds, A Report by Treaty Tribes in Washington. Impervious surface increases associated with the George’s Corner LAMIRD were identified as impacting stream conditions.

Several years ago, the Tribe joined the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration and Washington State University in a study that exposed Grovers Creek Hatchery coho salmon to urban runoff collected from a Highway 520 drain.  Every coho exposed to the runoff died.  Some died within a few hours, but all died within one day.  The surprising results of this study raised awareness of the link between urban stormwater runoff and salmon survival and the need to address stormwater runoff that drains to salmon-bearing waters.

The Fisheries Department and Chairman Leonard Forsman filed comments in opposition to the County’s proposed LAMIRD expansion expressing concerns about increased commercial land use intensity in an area that is in close proximity to Grovers Creek, which is listed as an Endangered Species Act-listed salmon-bearing stream with important habitat, concerns about potential impacts to the Tribe’s Grovers Creek Hatchery, and concerns about impacts to the Tribe’s treaty-reserved resources.

Despite the Tribe’s repeated requests to the County to withdraw the proposed action to expand the LAMIRD, the Kitsap County Board of County Commissioners adopted the County staff’s recommendations and removed a portion of undeveloped land from the southern portion of the LAMIRD and expanded commercial development beyond the original LAMIRD boundary to the east, on lands closest to Grovers Creek that include wetlands and a steep slope.  This expansion would allow further commercial activity in close proximity to the steep slope and Grovers Creek that would cause further negative impacts to the water quality of Grovers Creek and the Grovers Creek Hatchery from stormwater runoff draining from impervious surfaces and other environmental impacts.

In February 2019, the Tribe’s Office of Tribal Attorney filed an appeal with the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board (Growth Board) challenging the validity of Section 14(3) of Kitsap County Ordinance 565-2018 and its compliance with the GMA LAMIRD provisions and GMA goals designed to protect the environment and water quality and to prevent urban sprawl in rural lands.  The Tribe requested the Growth Board to declare that the County’s action was clearly erroneous, failed to comply with the GMA, and requested the Growth Board to issue an order of invalidity, a discretionary enforcement tool available to the Growth Board.

In August 2019, the Growth Board agreed with the Tribe and found that the LAMIRD boundary adjustment failed to comply with the LAMIRD statutory requirements for setting boundaries that are a one-time recognition of existing 1990 areas and uses.  The Growth Board also found that the County improperly acted to meet real or perceived needs for additional commercial lands beyond the original 2004 LAMIRD boundaries and failed to contain low-density sprawl by perpetuating a pattern of low-density sprawl that substantially interfered with the GMA goals that are designed to concentrate urban growth in urban areas and protect the environment and enhance the state’s high quality of life.  The Growth Board remanded Section 14(3) of Ordinance 565-2018 to the County to take action to comply with the GMA and declared Section 14(3) invalid in its entirety.  The Growth Board has set a compliance schedule that requires the County to comply with its Order by December 20, 2019 and file a Compliance Report/Statement of Actions Taken to Comply.   The Tribe will continue its legal role in these compliance actions while continuing technical, legal, and policy efforts to protect treaty-reserved rights and critical habitat for the next seven generations.

2019 Holiday Tree Lighting

Coming Soon to the Suquamish Museum

Suquamish Tribe dedicates new dive boat

In emotional ceremony, Tribe names ship after icon of Suquamish diving community

Members of the Suquamish Tribe welcomed the newest member of the Suquamish Seafood Enterprises fleet in a dockside dedication ceremony Thursday morning.
The F/V Carriere will serve as the flagship for the Tribe’s geoduck harvesting operations.
“This is a really big great day, not just for our company and our divers, but for the Tribe and the community,” said Suquamish Seafood’s general manager Tony Forsman, opening up the dedication ceremony. “We have members who aren’t even born yet who will be using this boat. This is what takes us into the next generation in a safe, efficient and good way.”
The 49-foot aluminum dive boat is powered by twin diesel engines and is equipped with a suite of compressors that pump air to two divers at a time. Built by Lee Shore Boats in Port Angeles, the nearly $1 million vessel was paid for in part through a grant by the Native American Agricultural Fund.
The ship is named after Jeff Carriere, a living legend in the Suquamish diving community who has served as a diver, tender, and dive boat skipper across decades of work with the Tribe.
The name of the ship was unveiled during Thursday’s ceremony. Carriere, who did not know the ship was being named after him, was overcome with emotion as a crew member peeled away a mask to reveal the name.

Carriere said he was overwhelmed with gratitude at the honor.
Carriere had helped design the new dive boat and was set to be its skipper before health issues forced an early retirement, said Jim Boure, Suquamish Seafoods Dive services manager. “His fingerprints are all over the design of this boat and now he’ll be with us every time we go out.”
Suquamish Seafood Enterprises, which is owned by the Suquamish Tribe, contracts Tribal divers to harvest geoduck from local waters. The business harvests and markets approximately 420,000 lbs. of wild geoduck each year.
Geoduck is a large clam considered a delicacy throughout much of Asia and is enjoying growing popularity in western markets.