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Squaxin Island Indian Reservation
South view of the Squaxin Island Administration Building in front of the Reflecting Pond.
South view of the Squaxin Island Administration Building in front of the Reflecting Pond.
Flag of Squaxin Island Indian Reservation
People of the Water
Squaxin Island Tribe is located in Washington (state)
Squaxin Island Tribe
Squaxin Island Tribe
Location in Washington State
Coordinates: 47°12′N 122°55′W / 47.200°N 122.917°W / 47.200; -122.917Coordinates: 47°12′N 122°55′W / 47.200°N 122.917°W / 47.200; -122.917
CountryUnited States
NegotiatedDecember 26, 1854
 • TypeTribal Council
 • ChairmanKris Peters
 • Vice ChairmanCharlene Krise
 • SecretaryJeremie Walls
 • TreasurerVicki Kruger
 • CouncilBev Hawks
Dave Whitener
Vince Henry
207 ft (63 m)
 • Total405
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)360

The Squaxin Island Indian Reservation is a Native American tribal government in western Washington state in the United States. The Squaxin Island Tribe is made up of several Lushootseed clans living along several inlets of southern Puget Sound:

The Squaxin Island people originally spoke the Lushootseed language. They were forced onto their reservation in modern-day Mason County, Washington, in 1855. The Squaxin Island Tribe was one of the first Native American tribes in the U.S. to enter into the Self Governance Demonstration Project with the federal government.

The reservation is in southeastern Mason County, Washington. Most of the main reservation is composed of Squaxin Island, but there is also a small part of 26.13 acres (105,700 m2) at Kamilche, in addition to two parcels of off-reservation trust land near Kamilche, as well as a plot of 6.03 acres (24,400 m2) across Pickering Passage from Squaxin Island and a plot of 35.93 acres (145,400 m2) on Harstine Island, across Peale Passage. The total land area including off-reservation trust lands is 6.942 km² (2.68 sq mi, or 1,715.46 acres). Of the total resident population of 405 persons (2000 census), 383 lived in off-reservation trust land to the southeast of Kamilche, and 22 lived on Harstine Island, while the bulk of the reservation's territory, Squaxin Island, was unpopulated.


The Home of Sacred Belongings - Squaxin Island Museum Library and Research Center

Squaxin Island Tribe had a Squaxin Island Museum, Library and Research Center as early as 2007.[1] The Squaxin Island Museum Library and Research Center was built circa 2002.[2] The 13,000-square-foot (1,200 m2) building, designed by a Seattle architecture firm, is shaped to resemble Thunderbird in profile.[3] The property the museum and cultural center stands on was gifted to the tribe by the Taylor family of nearby Taylor Shellfish.[4]

Paddle to Squaxin Island 2012[edit]

Canoes arriving in Olympia during the paddle to Squaxin 2012 event.

The Tribal Journeys began in 1989, intending to coincide with the centennial celebration for Washington State. A total of 9 canoes participated in the "Paddle to Seattle" journey, and in 1993, 23 canoes participated in the "Paddle to Bella Bella". Since 1993, "Tribal Journeys" or "The Paddle" has been held annually, with various tribes serving as the host tribe. A total of 102 canoes landed for the "Paddle to Squaxin Island" journey.

An estimated 40,000 people attended or visited the "Paddle to Squaxin Island" journey, hosted by the Squaxin Museum and The Evergreen State College, and funded by a National Endowment for the Arts "Our Town" grant.[5] Protocol and Dining were held in an old baseball field. The quiet community was loud for a whole week. Months before the event, major construction was done. Many parking lots were made, a campground was built and a Reflecting Pond was put in the Tribal Government Campus.

Tribes from around the country and world attended the event, such as New Zealand, Canada, Alaska, etc.[citation needed]

2021 Land Transaction[edit]

In December 2021, Squaxin Island Tribe came to an agreement with Port Blakely Companies, a family owned timber company, to acquire 1,000 acres of the tribe's ancestral land. Two miles of waterfront and 125 acres of tidelands on Little Skookum Inlet in Mason County were returned to the tribe, free of charge. The return of the shoreline restored the tribe’s direct access to Puget Sound, and some of the most productive shellfish beds in the region.[6][7]

In a separate transaction, the tribe purchased 875 acres of upland forest for an undisclosed sum. The so-called Kamilche property was acquired by Port Blakely following the signing of the 1854 Medicine Creek Treaty 167 years ago.[6][7]

Tribe chairman Kris Peters said the tribe has no plans to develop the property. The land will be used for nature conservation and ceremonial purposes.[6]


  1. ^ Parker, Ann (September 2007), "New Native Art Dedicated at TESC Longhouse" (PDF), sgwigwial?tx: News from the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, Olympia, Washington: The Evergreen State College, p. 3
  2. ^ Wray, Jacilee, ed. (2013), Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula: Who We Are, University of Oklahoma Press, p. 96, ISBN 9780806189963
  3. ^ Squaxin Library & Museum, Schacht Aslani Architects
  4. ^ "Modest shellfish mogul, environmental pioneer; Justin Taylor, 1921-2011; Obituary", The Seattle Times, February 23, 2011
  5. ^ Our Town grant: Olympia, WA: Canoe journey, National Endowment for the Arts, c. 2012, retrieved 2015-04-26
  6. ^ a b c "Timber company returns 2 miles of waterfront property to Squaxin Island Tribe". The Seattle Times. 2021-12-22. Retrieved 2021-12-23.
  7. ^ a b "Squaxin Island Tribe & Port Blakely Announce Historic Land…". Port Blakely Companies. Retrieved 2021-12-23.

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