Citizens of the Suquamish Tribe, located across Puget Sound from Seattle, have always fished, hunted, and lived in the central Salish Sea, including on lands that now make up the City of Seattle.
More than half of our tribe is made up of Duwamish people. Many of them have expressed their dissatisfaction at the case made by a select group of Seattle and King County residents who claim to represent all Duwamish people in a recent call on Congress for federal recognition of the Duwamish Tribal Organization (DTO). The claim by these residents discounts the identity and contribution of the Duwamish people who are full citizens of the Suquamish Tribe and other area tribes.
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Melissa Watkinson recalls a time in the past when she could go crabbing at the end of the dock in the Puget Sound and catch a great deal of crab. She can’t do that anymore. These days, she has to go on a boat into deeper waters to catch any.
“My nieces won’t know what it’s like to be able to throw a pot at the end of a dock and catch some crab,” Watkinson said.
Cecile Hansen’s pursuit of justice for the Duwamish people began in 1974. She was a housewife in her early 30s, living in Tukwila and raising three daughters, when her younger brother, Manny Oliver, came by, mad as all get out.