October 12, 2015
Dear President Obama,
Today is Indigenous People’s Day in the city of Seattle. To stand in solidarity with our indigenous neighbors, our school sends this letter out in hopes that our voices and the voices of the Duwamish People are heard as we all work toward federal recognition of the Duwamish Tribe.
We love our Duwamish neighbors. Last year our school visited the Duwamish longhouse. It was interesting, informational and a fun place to visit. Blake Shelafoe, the Tribe’s Cultural Representative, was our guide. Blake showed us how proud he is of his ancestors and tribe. He sang and danced with us showing us how some of the people of his tribe celebrate. We could feel how important this is and do not want to see it be lost.
The place where the Longhouse is built was the childhood home of Chief Seattle. Chief Seattle was the Chief of the Duwamish Tribe. He is named after a major city in the United States of America, yet his people are not recognized as a tribe. We have seen artifacts at the Duwamish Longhouse, we have seen the Duwamish river, a sacred place for their tribe to hunt, gather and live. This now toxic river is a Superfund Site instead of their tribal grounds. We saw some of the Duwamish Tribe members in canoes, on the Duwamish River, protesting shell oil to protect the land.
We read that once again the Duwamish Peoples rites have been forgotten and denied. We believe this is wrong and want to help by writing a letter sharing our support that the Duwamish People should be recognized. We ask with great honor and with good intention and support for the Duwamish People to receive recognition from the Federal Government.
Taproot School K-5
“All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” –Chief Seattle (Chief Si’ahl)