January 23rd, 2005

Samish commemorate treaty

Samish Indian Nation Vice Chairman Tom Wooten (left) performed a traditional song with other tribal members last Saturday on the occasion of the opening of the Tommy Thompson Parkway. The public parkway runs through the tribe’s Fidalgo Bay Resort. Wooten noted that the day was also important for the tribe as it marked the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Point Elliott Treaty. According to HistoryLink.org, Native American tribes signed the Point Elliott Treaty at Mukilteo on January 22, 1855. “Chief Seattle joined 81 other leaders of Puget Sound tribes in signing the treaty with Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens (1818-1862) at Point Elliott (now Mukilteo). Tribes surrendered their lands for cash, relocation to reservations, and access to traditional fishing and hunting grounds. Four days later, tribal leaders from Hood Canal and the upper Puget Sound signed a similar agreement at Point-No-Point (near Hansville on the Kitsap Peninsula). Governor Stevens later enumerated 9,712 Native Americans living west of the Cascade Range. Only a few hundred white settlers occupied Puget Sound when the treaties were concluded.”

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A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.

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