Private company returns land to Squaxin Island tribe

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The Squaxin Island tribe in western Washington state along the southernmost inlets of the Salish Sea received land from private owners, a logging company called the Port Blakely Companies. .

The company has given back 2 miles of waterfront and 125 acres of ancestral tribal land on Little Skookum Inlet for free. Separately, the Port Blakely companies also sold 875 acres of highland forest to its original stewards for an undisclosed amount.

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At the time of publication, President Kris Peters had not responded to Native News Online’s request for comment, but told the Seattle Times that the tribe had no plans to develop the waterfront property. water.

Members of the Squaxin Tribe are the descendants of the maritime people who have lived along the shores and watersheds of Puget Sound’s seven southernmost inlets for thousands of years, their website says. “Our culture is still very much linked to this aquatic environment.

The forest property the tribe bought back this week was part of the land it managed before the Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854, when it ceded 4,000 square miles, or 2,560,000 acres, to the United States government.

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“It is difficult to express in words what it feels like to have behind a land that the tribe has never considered theirs or anyone’s, but rather a gift to be managed in the name. future generations, ”Peters told the Seattle Times. “I look forward to drumming, singing and dancing on these beaches, just as our people did hundreds and thousands of years ago. “

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