The following announcement is from the Metropolitan King County Council as the council declares November Native American Heritage Month in King County.
In recognition of the history, culture and traditions that continue to be a part of our region, the Metropolitan King County Council declared the month of November Native American Heritage Month on November 14. Native American history is intertwined with both King County and Washington state. King County’s largest city is named in honor of Duwamish leader Chief Sealth, and there are 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington.
“The remarkable survival of Native Americans in this region – after the coming of white settlers – has been amazing. They continue to fight hard to maintain that their culture, language, dance, food and values are not destroyed,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, sponsor of the recognition. “As a descendent of slaves, I am proud to stand with my Native American friends as we honor November as Native American Heritage Month in Martin Luther King, Jr. County. Our communities together have survived genocide, mass incarceration and stolen lands – and – We Are Still Here!”
“Today the King County Native American community joins with the Council to honor the past, the present, and the future of Native Americans,” said Pamela Stearns (Tlingit), President of the King County Native American Leadership Council. “King County is home to a thriving Native American population and dynamic Tribes and we are proud to work hand in hand with the County leadership to bring more opportunity home to our people.”
King County is on land that is home to the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie Tribes. Along with the Duwamish Tribe, Native American culture and history has always been a vital part of the region that became King County.
The growth of King County, along with an ever-growing State population, has brought challenges to Native Americans. Native Americans in our County continue to battle high rates of poverty, poor health indicators, homelessness, and high school drop-out rates.
Even with these challenges, Native American tribes in Washington State have been leaders in driving local economies, providing jobs, giving back to the community, and protecting the environment. From fishery conservation and habitat restoration, to the national effort to protect Mother Earth’s lands from environmental destruction that could occur from fracking, oil pipelines, oil spills, and oil explosions, Native Americans have been on the frontlines protecting our earth for future generations.
WHEREAS, Washington State is home to 29 federally recognized Native American tribes, including the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie tribes located in King County, and King County’s largest city is named after Duwamish leader Chief Sealth; and
WHEREAS, Native American Heritage Month is celebrated annually to recognize Native American cultures, history, traditions, art, land, and contributions; and
WHEREAS, the history, economy, and culture of King County have been significantly influenced by local Native Americans and tribes whose customs and traditions are respected and celebrated as part of a rich legacy throughout our area; and
WHEREAS, King County is located on lands that originally belonged to the indigenous tribes and peoples of this area, and our county has benefited greatly from Native American resources and contributions since its founding in 1852; and
WHEREAS, Native American tribes are leaders in environmental protection, from fishery conservation to the national effort to protect native lands from environmental destruction that could occur from oil pipelines and fracking that directly impact Native American communities; and
WHEREAS, Native Americans continue to suffer from the highest rates of poverty, diabetes, lack of transportation, education, and homelessness in King County; and
WHEREAS, King County has a commitment to strengthen our relationship with Native American people and tribes and fortify efforts to fight poverty, homelessness, lack of transportation, and address physical and mental health disparities among Native Americans living in the county;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaim the month of November 2016 as
NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
in King County and encourage all residents to recognize the accomplishments and contributions the Native American community has made to our society and salute all the local organizations that work with and support Native American tribes and the Native American community.