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“WE'RE STILL HERE.”
The Survival of Washington Indians
IDENTITY
When non-Indians arrived, they attempted to bring the Indian people into white society. Native identity was left on the doorsteps of Indian boarding schools where students were given English names, unfamiliar clothing and silenced from speaking their Native languages. When off-reservation boarding schools opened in the 1880s, founder of Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Richard Pratt, announced with no apologies, “Kill the Indian ... Save the man.”

Assimilation practices didn’t stop there. More than one hundred tribes ceased to exist in the eyes of government when the Termination Era swept the country in the 1950s. America promised to free the Indians from their dependency on the U.S.; the tribes struggled for sovereignty— equal standing with the federal government. No Washington tribes were terminated, but seven, like the Duwamish, remain unrecognized by the U.S. Native Americans like James Rasmussen believe a new longhouse in recent years will help establish their tribal identity. “This gives us a platform to say, ‘We are still here.’”
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Boys with buckets: Tulalip Indian School's milking brigade, circa 1912. Each day a small army of young men milked between 40 and 50 cows at the school dairy.

Sketch: In May 1859, Artist James Swan, a friend of the tribes, illustrates the final celebration of the tomanawos ceremony, a lavish affair of the Chemakum Indians who once occupied the lands at present-day Port Townsend and Discovery Bay.

Princess Angeline: Angeline (Kikisoblu), daughter of Chief Seattle (Si’ahl) and a Duwamish Indian, is one of the most celebrated Natives in Washington history. Ironically, her people are still fighting to become an Indian tribe recognized by the United States.

Skitswish Indians prepare to dance in Fairfield, Washington ca. 1920 wearing their ceremonial dress.