Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    Land Acknowledgment at Sacajawea
    Posted on 11/13/2019

    Whose Land Are We On?

    When we are at Sacajawea, we are on land that is part of the city of Seattle. At the same time, we are on land originally belonging to the Native American tribes indigenous to this area. Here at Sacajawea, we open our public events and meetings with a land acknowledgement.

    Who were the people who originally lived here? We are on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish Tribe (Dkhw Duw’Absh). The Duwamish people have lived here for the last 10,000 years. Our city is named after the Duwamish leader Si’ahl (Chief Seattle).

    How did the land become open to settlers? From 1850-1855, the US government allowed citizens to settle in Washington by taking land without asking. This caused bad relationships with the local Native Americans who already lived here. There was deadly fighting between the groups.

    What ended the fighting and allowed settling? Fighting between settlers and Native American tribes ended through legal agreements called treaties. The Point Elliot Treaty of 1855 allowed settlers to live on the land we now call Seattle. In exchange for 54,000 acres of their homeland, the Duwamish Tribe was promised a land reservation. This promise has not yet been fulfilled.

    Where are the Duwamish people now? The Duwamish Tribe still lives here. They host events at the Longhouse and Cultural Center all year long. As a tribe, The Duwamish are fighting for government recognition. The US government signed the treaty with the Duwamish people as a tribe, but does not currently recognize the people as a tribe.

    Why is it important to know whose land this is? When we tell the land’s history, we tell American history. Land acknowledgement is a way of showing respect and honoring the Indigenous Peoples of the land on which we live. We at Sacajawea acknowledge that we live and study on the ancestral lands of the Duwamish Tribe, the People of the Inside. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish People.

    Learn more about Land Acknowledgment at