The Duwamish Tribe’s Injustices

Adam - Seattle, Washington
Entered on March 19, 2008

Dear NPR,

My name is Adam and I go to a school in Washington. My class and I have been studying Native American Tribe’s history for Northwest Washington, and we have learned that the Duwamish tribe has been denied Tribal recognition for over 200 years. I feel very sad and disappointed at our government that they have kept the Duwamish down for so long. The only time that they have ever come close to becoming a tribe in the eyes of our government has been at the end of the Clinton Administration, but they hardly got two days before the Bush Administration canceled their rights. The Duwamish don’t have any treaty rights, the way that all the other tribes in the area do. The way I see it, the Duwamish deserve to be a tribe. I just learned about how this is playing out in congress, and I truly believe that this is a great injustice. I have heard several speeches from Duwamish tribe members about this, and all of them say that they deserve to be a tribe. The US has treaty obligations with all Indian tribes living within its borders. This shows to me that our government isn’t what it should be, and that what we are doing for the Native American tribes isn’t enough. Is it really right to deny them their tribal recognition?

Settlers from the colonies came over around the 1800s as pioneers, and with them they brought diseases like small pox. These diseases wiped out more than ninety percent of the Native American population. How would you feel if new people came into your land, killed hundreds upon thousands of your people, and then proceeded to deny you rights as a citizen, even once you surrendered? I know that I would just flat out be amazingly angry at the English government and society. That is like saying that all of the Indians aren’t a people, denying that they aren’t a tribe.

Just a small amount of our tax money goes to helping the Indians, so we save just enough money for that next McDonalds burger. Are we really doing the right thing?