In reflecting on the 2023 year, there is so much to celebrate and so much work in the year ahead to look forward to. Here are a few highlights from the updates and posts shared by the Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement in 2023:

Birds Connect Donates Ancestral Lands to the Tribe

Early in the year the Tribe announced that Birds Connect (formerly Seattle Audubon) had donated 10 acres of ancestral lands to the Tribe.

“White-led conservation organizations like ours have a long history of Indigenous erasure and taking for granted the Indigenous stewardship of our shared lands and waters. Returning this land to the Tribe is one small way that our organization can begin to right past wrongs and ensure the best possible future for the plants, animals, and people of the Snoqualmie Valley.”

Claire Catania

Executive Director, Birds Connect

Highlight on Native Erasure

Early in the year a member of the Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement team was interviewed for an article about Native Erasure and the many ways in which it is present, including interpretive signage in recreational areas. The interview opened the door for other conversations in the community, and to efforts with a local city on correcting an example of Native erasure in the area. More to come on that in 2024!

Release of Wapato Story Map

This year the Tribe launched a new storymap about the Tribe’s wapato restoration efforts and a site in the Tribe’s Ancestral Forest where wapato has been restored. The map was produced by two Tribal Members and the Tribe’s ENR and Culture departments.

Run with Respect Brooks Video Nominated for an Emmy

The Tribe worked with Brooks Running on a video for trail runners and in 2023 we found out that the video was nominated for a 2023 Northwest Regional Emmy Award!

Watch the video and read about the meaning of the project and the process here: https://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/blog/inspiring-stories/how-to-run-with-respect.html

Tribe Introduces First Ever Lands Protection Tax

This spring, the 2% Lands Protection Tax was introduced at the Salish Lodge. The tax is collected on sales made at the Salish Lodge & Spa, and the revenue is allocated by the Tribal Council for projects and expenses associated with the Tribal government’s work to protect the Tribe’s ancestral lands.

“This Lands Protection Tax directly exercises the Tribe’s sovereignty and demonstrates our values. Those who visit the Lodge can take pride in knowing that their dollars directly support the Tribe’s work to protect and restore our ancestral lands and sacred sites.”

Robert de los Angeles

Tribal Chairman

Culturally Modified Trees and Seattle’s Luma

Early in 2023, the Tribe had been meeting with City staff regarding the need for protections for culturally modified trees (CMTs) within the City especially with the increase in demand for dense development and in July the Tribe became aware of a CMT in North Seattle threatened by a housing development. Tree sitters occupied the tree and the community rallied around the CMT affectionately named Luma. Culturally modified trees are protected under state law and after weeks of public engagement and advocacy, the developers announced that they had altered their development plan to not impact Luma. The work to protect Luma is still ongoing so watch for updates in 2024.

Luma highlighted the need for counties and cities to adopt and enforce laws and tree ordinances which acknowledge and respect Tribal cultural resources including culturally modified trees.

2023 Canoe Journey

After not being able to gather for Canoe Journey for multiple years due to COVID, the Snoqualmie Tribe and many other tribes across the Coast Salish region gathered for Canoe Journey 2023, hosted by the Muckleshoot Tribe this summer. The Snoqualmie Tribe’s Canoe Family started their journey on the Snoqualmie River and Journey ended a couple weeks later after protocol.

It was a great reminder to folks who like to recreate on Snoqualmie Tribe ancestral lands and waters of the need to be mindful and provide space for Tribal Members to engage in our traditional cultural practices. The Snoqualmie River is an exceptionally popular area and it can get difficult for our pullers to navigate those who float, jet ski, and recreate in other ways in the area as it can get very crowded.

“I think about those who passed knowledge on to me and some of them aren’t here anymore. But they live on in those stories and that’s my responsibility to pass on to others. It’s hard sometimes, but we do it because they did it for us.” – Council Member Alternate Melynda Digre

Geese & Gary

This summer the Tribe found not just geese but also goldfish on the Reservation. Both of these situations highlighted the need for folks to be more informed about the need for appropriately handling invasive species within the Tribe’s Ancestral Lands.

Gary Update: Gary is doing well, with our Environmental and Natural Resources team looking after him!

Geese Update: A local family adopted the geese, who went on to win multiple ribbons at a local State Fair!

Wildlife Ambassadors & Bandana with Conservation Northwest

This summer the Tribe worked with Conservation Northwest and the local Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest’s Snoqualmie Ranger District to bring increased awareness and education about wildlife in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie.

Read about the effort here: https://conservationnw.org/notes-from-the-field-wildlife-ambassador-project-in-the-middle-fork-snoqualmie-river-valley/

Connections with all of you!

This year we were able to gather with more of you than ever, as we gathered at the Mindfulness Hike hosted by Seattle Running Collective, the Camas Restoration presentation hosted by the Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association, and some other presentations and small gatherings throughout the year. We are looking forward to even more opportunities to gather with our partners and supporters in 2024!

Some of you also volunteered at the Tribe’s Restoration events hosted by our Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR) team, proving how recreation can be redefined to include activities which build reciprocity by giving back to Tribal Ancestral Lands.

So many of you also responded to our ask for feedback through our survey this Fall – thank you so much for everyone who responded! Thank you also for your patience as we work on getting out those special thank yous to those of you who voiced interest – we’re working on it!

Thank you to everyone who helped by sharing our posts, engaging in the comments, sending us appreciative notes and encouragement, and for all of the general support throughout the year. We appreciate you all so much.