The Importance of Acknowledging our History: The National Archives in Seattle

This post is part of an ongoing series of blog posts that acknowledges the ancestral lands on which the National Archives’ buildings are situated. I share these land acknowledgements as a way to offer recognition and respect to the people who lived on these lands before us. Today’s post takes us to the National Archives and Records Administration’s facility in Seattle, Washington. 

National Archives and Records Administration facilities in Seattle, Washington

The National Archives in Seattle is situated on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish, Stillaguamish (“People of the River”), Duwamish (“the People of the Inside”), and Suquamish (“Place of the Clear Salt Water”) peoples.

Map of the Coast Salish territories from the Burke Museum.

The Suquamish and their ancestors have inhabited the Puget Sound area for thousands of years. Before European contact, the region was one of the most populated centers north of what is now Mexico City. Unlike the larger tribes of British Columbia, Alaska, the Plains and the Southwest, the Indians of the Puget Sound lived in relatively small, autonomous villages. Many tribes were affiliated through intermarriage, political agreement, trade, material culture and language (from the Suquamish Tribe’s website.)

Enter your address in this interactive map of Traditional Native Lands to see who once lived where you are now. 

My thanks to Crystal Shurley, Archival Technician, the National Archives at Seattle, who provided research for this land acknowledgement. 

Additional Resources:

The National Archives at Seattle has a number of finding aids related to Native People in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, that include the Coast Salish, Stillaguamish, Duwamish, and Suquamish people, that can be viewed by request. Please email them at seattle.archives@nara.gov and ask about these finding aids. 

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