Whatcom County’s Indigenous People have inhabited and cared for the lands of the Salish Sea basin since time immemorial. These groups include the Lummi, Nooksack, Samish, and Semiahmoo people.
In 1855, these and other tribes ceded ancestral lands to colonizers in the Treaty of Point Elliott in exchange for hunting and fishing rights. In this and other treaties with Native Americans, the U.S. government promised assistance to native tribes in terms of housing, infrastructure, education, and other areas. A promise which was broken.
According to a 2018 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report
, “due at least in part to the failure of the federal government to adequately address the wellbeing of Native Americans over the last two centuries, Native Americans continue to rank near the bottom of all Americans in health, education, and employment outcomes.”
Native American people and culture are an integral part of our nation’s history. Today’s materials explore their history, cultures, and the issues many tribes face to this day.