By taking the time to learn and experience places in new ways, one can begin to change conquest culture.

By Snoqualmie Tribe Governmental Affairs Staff
Previously published in the Washington Trails Association magazine

For time immemorial, the Snoqualmie People have stood witness to the ingress and egress of humans on our ancestral lands. As the First People and original stewards of this land, we have witnessed the impacts of viewing land through an extraction and profit lens — as a commodity to be owned. We have seen early American settlers in our region carry with them a sense of entitlement or right to land and its resources, which many have learned in the last century are not infinite. As we witness mismanagement of our forests and development continue to encroach on these remaining remnants, an increase in recreational uses of  these places is also causing concern.

The Snoqualmie Tribe is concerned, as we continue to see an increased apathy toward our most sacred sites and our Snoqualmie ancestral lands, which include our non-human relatives whom we have the responsibility to speak for and provide a voice when they cannot.

To combat this, we are encouraging the idea of mindfulness over conquest. “Conquering” the mountain is not a concept in traditional Snoqualmie culture, we are not separate or apart from our sacred sites. What happens to the land happens to us. The spiritual ramifications of disturbance and desecration travels through our people as a form of generational trauma, inherited by the next generations. When our sites are blasted apart, so are we. When our ancestor’s burial grounds are disturbed, so are we. This destruction manifests itself in our spiritual and physical wellbeing. When we are successful in protecting, respecting, and restoring these sites and our connections to them, we help heal ourselves for generations to come.

Through the Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement, we are challenging the culture of conquest and encouraging everyone to move your mindset toward one of mindfulness.

With the innate draw that sacred sites have, many have become tourist attractions and are in danger of being loved to death. For example, q̓əlbc̓ (Mount Si) is one of many sacred sites and culturally significant places being heavily impacted. Too often q̓əlbc̓ is looked upon as a challenge, instead of embracing how unique and special it truly is, how our interaction with place is part of a larger interconnected and dynamic relationship. q̓əlbc has immense cultural-significance as this mountain is part of the Snoqualmie People’s origin history.

By taking the time to learn and experience places in new ways, one can begin to combat conquest culture. Some steps you can take:

  • Allow the land to rest when it needs to, give space and show care to plants and animals.
  • Practice regenerative land management.
  • Learn more about the First People, the original stewards of the land.

Following these steps are all ways you can begin to practice mindfulness over conquest.

To learn more, go to