Tag Archive for: Chief Seattle

Suquamish Tribal Council statement on Earth Day 2022, as President Biden Visits Chief Seattle’s land

“Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove … even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as the swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.” 

 – Chief Seattle

It’s fitting that President Biden is here on Chief Seattle’s lands on this Earth Day, as we confront the climate crisis and the other ecological emergencies that threaten our ways of life.

The Treaty of Point Elliott, signed by Chief Seattle, secured our peoples’ rights to fish and hunt and gather, and the courts have made clear – that means that marine habitats must be healthy enough to sustain those fisheries.

We applaud President Biden’s commitment to healthy forests. With a hotter climate, forests must be protected for their capacity to sequester carbon and also to shade the waterways that must remain cool if marine life is to survive.

In that spirit, while we celebrate the Biden Administration’s plans for restoring the broken infrastructure of this nation, we call for ecological restoration to be the top priority. Each road, bridge, and energy project must be constructed or rebuilt in a way that protects surrounding ecosystems as well as the climate.

Highways and bridges must include safe storm water filtering that prevent toxics from running off and polluting the Salish Sea, harming salmon and orca. And fish blocking culverts must be replaced.

We are reaching a point where polluted and degraded waterways and landscapes are permanently altering the living planet, and threatening us with extinction and marine dead zones, wildfires, smoke, and much worse for future generations.

The solutions to these crisis that will bring peace are those that are just. Solutions must protect the vulnerable as well as the resilient, the poor as well as the wealthy. Like Chief Seattle, we must never stop thinking about the impacts of these decisions on future generations, who have no voice unless we speak for them.

The planet cannot sustain ways of life that use up the living resources and dump waste at levels beyond the natural world’s capacity to recover. We are faced with a moral decision, brought most urgently to our attention by young people who are asking what sort of world we are leaving to them. We can’t sidestep that question any longer. The tipping point is here and it is now.

So let us celebrate this 2022 Earth Day keeping in mind the guidance offered by Chief Seattle and the sacrifices he and other Tribal elders made to assure the survival of generations to come.

As members of the seventh generation since his time on this Earth, we are grateful to him. Will the people of seven generations from now be equally grateful to us?

Much will depend on decisions made by the Biden administration and how they impact the waters, the land, and the climate.

By Suquamish Tribal Council: Leonard Forsman, chair, Joshua Bagley, vice-chair, Denita Holmes, treasurer, Windy Anderson, secretary, Luther (Jay) Mills III, Sammy Mabe, and Rich Purser.

Wrapped in Resilience 2017

In 2005, the Cultural Resurgence Campaign focused on bringing the Suquamish Tribe’s ancestral culture, values and spirituality to the forefront of community life—recognizing their relevance in the present, reawakening Tribal pride in its members, and sharing the Tribe’s history and culture with the greater Suquamish community in Kitsap County.

The inaugural Sovereign Style: Ribbons of Resilience event in October 2016 showcased the artistry of shirts, dresses, and children’s clothes adorned with beautiful ribbons and modelled by Suquamish Tribal members.  Hosted by the Suquamish Foundation, it was the beginning of the Suquamish Sovereign Style campaign celebrating artistry, resilience and generosity.

Ribbon shirts and dresses represent many aspects of indigenous history since contact—assimilation, creativity, prayer, ingenuity, tradition, strength, protection, style, and rebellion.  Ribbons were used not only to adorn plain clothing, but to show status, family ties, and preservation of cultural values.  As all cultural activities were outlawed by the U.S. government, ribbon clothing signified a covert resistance to assimilation.

The second event was held again in October 2017 with the theme of “Wrapped in Resilience.” This fashion happening called for shawls, blankets and vests to be exhibited by Suquamish high school student models. Shawls, blankets and vest have been a traditional showcase for Native artistry while serving the practical purpose of keeping a person warm. The exquisite pieces on display ranged from an original woven cedar vest to breathtaking colorful shawls depicting revered Salish characters.  The designs incorporated Native artistry representing traditional craftsmanship and dedication to preserving long-honed skills in a celebration of beautiful garments.

Telling our story through style.  That is the tradition that the Suquamish Foundation Sovereign Style campaign seeks to uphold for the Tribe and the broader, shared community.  It represents the style in which we gift grants, education, and love.  It also represents the need to seek support to further our goal to build resilience for our children and generations to come.

As we reclaim our homeland, we celebrate with pride the ceremonial style that has been an outward sign of our creativity, spirit, prayers, strength, protection and preservation of cultural values, relationships to homeland, and the natural world. By this practice, we enable these traditions and practices to continue on with future generations.

The Suquamish Foundation’s mission is to build on our ancestral vision to enhance the culture, education, environment, and physical well-being of the Tribe and the greater community. It works best when we all are involved as a community of Givers. Sovereign Style allows all of us ways to give with our hands, our heads and our hearts.

The Sovereign Style event in 2018 has been set for October 19th. We hope you join us this year! For more images of the 2017 event, click here.

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.