Tribal Lands Statement

For official university functions, following is a suggested tribal lands acknowledgement, tailored by location, to use in all opening remarks.

I would like to begin by acknowledging that we gather today on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. Please join me in expressing our deepest respect and gratitude for our Indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.

Bellingham:  Lummi Nation and the Nooksack Tribe
Anacortes:  Samish Indian Nation and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
Everett: Tulalip Tribes, the Snohomish, the Stillaguamish Tribe and the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe
Kitsap Peninsula:  Suquamish Tribe and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
Olympic Peninsula:  The Hoh Tribe, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Makah Indian Tribe, Quileute Tribe, Quinault Indian Nation, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and the Skokomish Tribe.
Seattle:  Duwamish, Suquamish, Nisqually, Snoqualmie and Muckleshoot tribes.

Why do we give a land statement?

Words from the Executive Director of the Office of Tribal Relations

I introduce myself in by my two ancestral name, Ses yehomia and tsi kuts bat soot. My English name is Laural Ballew, and I am the Executive Director for American Indian, Alaska Native and First Nation Relations/Tribal Liaison to the President.

As a Native woman, I appreciate Western Washington University has set the precedent for a land acknowledgement dedicated to honoring the Native people of this land. This is why I feel it is important to acknowledge the land we gather on during opening remarks. As Native people, we never owned the land but rather we appreciated the abundance and the beauty this land provided for our people, and we value this practice every day.

The land acknowledgement is not intended to be discouraging, but to fairly give recognition and understanding of the first inhabitants on this land. As we move forward, it is essential to continue the recognition of who the first people on this land were, and not forget the enduring gratitude they hold for the land, despite the “ownership.” In our eyes, this land has always been a gift and we hold that relationship sacred.

I invite you all to pledge to come into this space with a conscious effort and inclusive approach to the entire Western community and beyond.