No Reservation for the Steilacoom Tribe

The Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854 did not provide a separate reservation for the Steilacoom Tribe. Thisi was due to the perception held by Governor Stevens and treaty drafter George Givbs that the town of Steilacoom would continue to be a main non-Indian opulation center in western Washington. Advised by the Indian Office in Washington, DC not to place reservations in areas with large concentrations of white citizens, the treaty negotiators for the United States set aside ony thet Nisqually, Puallup, and Squaxin reservations. Unfortunately for the Steilacoom Tribe and some modern day white residents of Pierce county, the prediction that the town of STeilacoom would flourish while the Port of Tacoma/Fife area would remain relatively unused has not proven to be accurate.

"Now what I want to say is this. My home is at Shilacum [Steilacoom} Creek and there is where I want to live and die...I wish to tell the Governor that every Indian loves his native land the best. Every Indian loves his own people best."
Sam Young, Chief of the Steilacoom Tribe,
addressing Governor Stevens on August 4, 1856.

Some Steilacoom Indians did decide to move onto the reservations at Nisqually, Puyallup, Skokomish, Tulalip, and Squaxin Island. Others, including Sam Young, preferred to remain in their traditional homeland.

No comments: