The Port of Seattle and Muckleshoot Indian Tribal Government signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on June 29, 2023 that will expand their government-to-government relationship, including regular and structured communication between the leadership of both entities.
The new MOA does not amend or supersede any existing legal agreements between the Muckleshoot Tribe and the Port of Seattle, or any other government agency. Rather, it creates an important structure to help ensure the longterm interests of the Port and Tribe which will benefit the entire region.
With this MOA, the Port and Muckleshoot will have a greater ability to collaborate on mutually agreed interests such as economic development, intergovernmental advocacy, education, and job training, fish and wildlife habitat restoration, and environmental stewardship.
It will also expand opportunities to collaborate on matters of regional significance, such as major transportation, infrastructure, economic development, and conservation projects. Areas already identified of greatest interest for the shared focus include Elliott Bay, the Duwamish Estuary, Lake Washington Ship Canal, Salmon Bay, Puget Sound, and the broader Salish Sea.
“The MOA marks a step forward in how we collaborate on the protection of treaty-reserved resources, cultural and archeological sites, and the environment,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Toshiko Hasegawa. “By codifying our government-to-government coordination through this MOA, we embrace a more meaningful way of collaborating and communicating. It’s a recognition of our profound respect for tribal sovereignty and the work ahead to advance equity and environmental justice in our harbor.”
“This new MOA deepens what has been a positive working relationship the Tribe has enjoyed with the Port of Seattle for many years,” said Tribal Council Chair Jaison Elkins. “The Tribe looks forward to building on that relationship over the coming years as we collaborate on the many areas of interest we share.”
Under the terms of the MOA, the Port and Tribe will develop a work plan that identifies projects and initiatives intended to make progress towards sustainable co-existence on the land and waters of the region. To that end, the Port has committed to hiring a new Senior Manager of Tribal Relations that will oversee the work plan and further shared objectives.
“Our special relationship with the Tribe is critical to achieving our mission as a public agency,” said Port Commissioner Fred Felleman, adding that “The MOA helps focus our attention on mutually beneficial actions that we can take to promote commerce, community, and conservation – which is a win-win-win for our region.”
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.