March 29, 2013 at 6:02 AM
Victory for Duwamish in fight to be recognized as tribe
Long history of denial, disruption and devastation
The recent article “Duwamish get new shot at recognition,” [NWTuesday, March 26] failed to cover the intense political shenanigans that led to their denial of recognition in the first place. The Department of Interior official who approved their recognition, after years of analysis, has disputed the allegation that was reported as fact in this article, that he signed the petition “three days after he left office.” The official testified under oath to signing before he left office and added he believed the incoming Bush administration was guilty of committing “bureaucratic injustice.”
It’s important to remember the fight for justice for the Duwamish began long before the “lucrative” casinos and “fishing rights” issues that were unfairly referenced. The push began with a famous speech by Chief Seattle in which he pleaded for land for his people just a year before his death and after treaty promises for land had been made — the Suquamish already had their land so he was speaking directly for the Duwamish.
It’s no secret that the incoming Bush administration had a high disdain for the Clinton administration and tossed out most of Clinton’s final decisions, not based on fact, but political whim. The recent court decision by Judge John Coughenour calling the denial “unfair” is a ray of hope in this otherwise sorry history of denial, disruption and devastation.
–Sandy Osawa, director of the film “Princess Angeline,” Seattle
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