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About The Sauk-Suiattle Tribe

INfo

About The Tribe

The Sauk-Suiattle people lived under the gaze of Whitehorse Mountain for many generations. We lived as hunters, gatherers and fishermen in the region of Sauk Prairie near the present-day town of Darrington, Washington. In the early days, we were known as the Sah-kumehu.  

We were canoe people, plying the swift waters of the Sauk, Suiattle, Stillaguamish, Cascade, and Skagit Rivers in our river canoes. Though our homelands were in the foothills of the North Cascades, we often traveled downriver to Puget Sound. There we harvested fish, shellfish, and other foods not available in the mountains. We even voyaged in large seagoing canoes.  

We also traveled over the mountains to gather food, herbs, and other necessities. We became skilled horsemen, trading with tribes from Eastern Washington. Our free-roaming horses grazed among our relatives there.

Our Homelands were the entire drainage area of the Sauk, Suiattle and Cascade Rivers. We had an important village at Sauk Prairie near the confluence of the Sauk and Suiattle Rivers. The village consisted of eight traditional cedar longhouses which were destroyed in 1884 by early non-native settlers who had laid claim to these lands under the U.S. Homestead Act.

We thus became a landless people but continued to live in scattered groups close to our traditional homelands. Though many of our tribal members left the area or joined other neighboring tribes during our exodus, we maintained our tribal government, our social structure, our identity, and most importantly, our hope for the future 

Our tribal membership numbered around 4,000 before 1855, and by 1924 our numbers had dwindled to 18 members. Residents in the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Reservation are the surviving descendants of the original peoples who lived in this special valley. Our current membership numbers around 200 individuals. The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe’s enrollment requirements are one quarter Indian blood and proof of descendancy from the ancestral Native Americans who inhabited this unique valley recorded in the 1942 United States Census.

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