Advertise:   712.224.5420

Swinomish Tribe battles county over trust land request

The Swinomish Tribe of Washington is trying to reclaim land within its reservation boundaries but Skagit County is objecting.

The 1885 Treaty of Point Elliot established a 14,000-acre reservation for the tribe. But about half of it was "lost, stolen and swindled away," chairman Brian Cladoosby tells The Skagit Valley Herald.

So far the tribe has repurchased about 1,100 acres and asked for the land to be placed in trust. But county officials are fighting the tribe in and out of court over the request, saying they will lose tax revenue and authority over the land.

The tribe points to a recent ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that found that a Washington county lacked jurisdiction over Indian-owned land within the Tulalip Reservation. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to take an appeal of the case.

The tribe and the county are awaiting another decision from the 9th Circuit over a 130-acre parcel. The county was also challenging the Samish Nation's trust land request until the tribe agreed to county building codes.

Get the Story:
This land is whose land? (The Skagit Valley Herald 12/5)
Homeless no more - Samish land restored (Indian Country Today 12/6)

Relevant Links:
Swinomish Tribe -

Related Stories:
Supreme Court rejects state jurisdiction appeal (03/11)
Indian land case being reviewed (3/3)
Indian fee land free from state control (09/19)