Conference Host

Swinomish Tribe

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is not a big tribe, nor is our community a large community, but our people have the same needs, hopes, and dreams as all communities throughout the world. We want our families and our homes to be healthy. We want high-quality education for our children and loving care for our elders. We want safe neighborhoods and a clean environment. We want to preserve our traditions, culture, foods, dances, crafts; in essence, our way of life. As a community, we work together to sustain these values and further our hopes and dreams for generations to come.

The Reservation is home to a community of Coast Salish peoples that descended from tribes and bands that originally lived in the Skagit and Samish River Valleys, the coastal areas surrounding Skagit, Padilla, and Fidalgo Bays and Saratoga Passage, and numerous islands, including Fidalgo, Camano, Whidbey, and the San Juan Islands.

For thousands of years, these Coast Salish tribes maintained a culture centered around abundant salt water resources that included salmon, shellfish, and marine mammals, as well as upland resources such as cedar, camas, berries, and wild game. They lived in large villages during winter and in summer encampments that followed the seasonal cycle of resource gathering from the mouths of rivers and streams, to coastal shorelines, to marine waters, and to inland forests.

Four major groups and their allied bands — the Aboriginal Swinomish, Lower Skagit, Kikiallus, and Aboriginal Samish Tribes — signed the Treaty of Point Elliott with the United States in 1855 and reserved the southeast peninsula of Fidalgo Island for their Reservation and future use.