Snohomish Tribe denied federal recognition

December 2, 2003

Associated Press
King 5 News

SEATTLE - The Bureau of Indian Affairs has told leaders of the Snohomish Indian tribe that the federal government will not recognize the tribe as an independent, sovereign nation.

Snohomish leaders say they will appeal the decision, which is the second time the tribe has been turned down for recognition.

Federal recognition bestows sovereignty on a tribe, meaning the federal government views the tribe as a separate nation, and gives it treaty rights that include money for services such as health care and education. It also gives guarantees to fish harvests and establishes a trust relationship whereby the federal government protects a tribe's land holdings.

The bureau turned down the tribe's first attempt at recognition in 1983. Leaders submitted a new petition in 1999. But the BIA said the group met only three of the seven criteria necessary for tribal recognition.

The Snohomish tribe, with headquarters in Edmonds, claims 1,700 members, most in King, Snohomish and Jefferson counties.


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