"My name is Jaison Elkins. I am the chairman of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and it is an absolute honor to be here in these chambers with you today. I wanted to thank Councilmember Andrew Lewis, Council President Juarez and Councilmember Mosqueda. Thank you, and all your staff, for all the wonderful work that you do for the City of Seattle. I just want to say that we at the Muckleshoot Tribe want to be active partners with the City. We share a lot of the same goals and objectives, and we just want to be good partners with everybody.
This all began with the seawall project, which began in 2003. That seems like a long time ago, but as the original people of these lands, that is just the blink of the eye. I just wanted to say growing up Native, without seeing myself in mainstream society, I felt pretty invisible. And as a fisherman who fishes the Lake Washington system, the Sammamish system, Cedar River, Green River, Duwamish, Elliot Bay, Lake Union – all these different places – it is hard to find representation of our people when we were growing up.
A lot of the fishing that we do is at nighttime, so a lot of people really didn’t even know what we were doing out there, and if they did, sometimes it was negative interactions. But a lot of my job, and Donny’s job, is educating people, and we want to be seen; we want to be heard; we want to tell our stories; and I believe that with this interpretive center in a prime location at the waterfront, we can be innovative; we can be creative; and we could tell our stories to whoever wants to listen. And through that, I think that we can add a lot of texture and a lot of soul to our city.
And with that being said, my hands go up to everybody here. I appreciate all the work that you do, and I want to pass the mike over to our Vice Chairman, Stevenson."
"Good day to everyone here. My name is Donny Stevenson and I am the Vice Chairman of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. I would like to thank our Chairman, Jaison Elkins, for his leadership on this project, along with Marshall and his team.
The footprint of what is today the City of Seattle – especially the waterfront – lies directly in the heart of what is the traditional homeland of the Muckleshoot people. And through this project and the partnership with the City programs, we worked to bring it to the table today. We feel as though we formed a partnership that allows us to retake our rightful place within the cityscape and identity of the City of Seattle.
I will be short and just thank all involved and this committee and the council members involved for their leadership, partnership and collaboration, and coming together to allow us to do so. My hands are raised to everyone who helped us get it to this point and I thank you for your consideration for us moving it to the next step and the next phase. It will be a day of celebration for us when we are able to open an interpretive center on the waterfront within the city of Seattle, because ultimately, it is where our people belong. Thank you very much."
The Muckleshoot Messenger is a Tribal publication created by the Muckleshoot Office of Media Services. Tribal community members and Tribal employees are welcome to submit items to the newspaper such as news, calendar items, photos, poems, and artwork.