The Swinomish People

The Reservation is home to a community of Coast Salish peoples that descended from tribes and bands that originally lived in the Skagit and Samish River Valleys, the coastal areas surrounding Skagit, Padilla and Fidalgo Bays and Saratoga Passage, and numerous islands, including Fidalgo, Camano, Whidbey and the San Juan Islands.

For thousands of years, these Coast Salish tribes maintained a culture centered around abundant salt water resources that included salmon, shellfish, and marine mammals, as well as upland resources such as cedar, camas, berries, and wild game.

They lived in large villages during the winter and in summer encampments that followed the seasonal cycle of resource gathering from the mouths of rivers and streams where salmon was taken, to coastal shorelines where shellfish and herring and other forage fish were taken, to marine waters where finfish and sea mammals were taken, and to inland forests where wild game and berries were taken.

Four major groups and their allied bands - the Aboriginal Swinomish, Lower Skagit, Kikiallus and Aboriginal Samish Tribes - signed the Treaty of Point Elliott with the United States in 1855 and reserved the southeast peninsula of Fidalgo Island for their Reservation and future use.

The Swinomish People


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