The Samish are a living in today's Washington state Indian tribe. They live in the northwest Washington in the room Anacortes and Bellingham. They belong culturally to the coastal Salish and speak the Lekwungen dialect; yet they are closely related to the Lummi.

The name derives from the Skagit word for "hunter" from.


Early History

The Samish were, like most coastal Salish, only in winter stationary. During the warmer months they were found mainly on the islands to Vancouver Iceland and in Puget Sound, especially on the San Juan Islands. Winter villages insisted on Samish, Guemes and Fidalgo Iceland.

Epidemics, population collapse, treaty with the U.S.

1847 had the comparatively large tribe probably 2,000 members, but broke the population together as a result of smallpox, influenza and measles epidemics completely, while the Haida and Tsimshian raids from the north further reduced their number. At the time of the Treaty of Point Elliott ( 1855), there were only 150 Samish in a single village. According to the Treaty, many of them were expected to Lummi.

When negotiating contracts of Point Elliott with the Washington territorial governor Isaac Stevens, although 113 Samish were present, but signed two chiefs of the Lummi ( Chow -its- hoot ) and the Lower Skagit ( Pateus ) in their name. Since they received no reserve, many went to the Lummi or the Swinomish. However, most remained in their homeland.

New Guemes

They were given the fact that the government kept many of Skagit and Swinomish, only six settlement sites. The rest went to Guemes Iceland and founded New Guemes, which is now called Potlatch Beach. In the local large nave lived around 100 Samish. But they could not hold out against the white settlers at the only fresh water spot on the island. By 1912, most of the island had to leave. Some of them were among the founding members of the Northwest Federation of American Indians.

Struggle for recognition as a tribe

As of 1926, the Samish began again as a separate ethnic group to appear, usually as Samish Indian Tribe. They gave themselves a constitution and began to lead a list of members. Billie Edwards, the 110 -year-old chief of the Samish and the last witness of the Treaty of Point Elliott, the oldest guest was at the ceremony to mark the contract on 31 January 1929. Though recognized the United States Court of Claims that the Samish in include the Point Elliott Treaty were that they had already received sufficient resources.

1951 the Samish gave a new constitution. 1958 recognized the Indian Claims Commission that the Samish had next to Guemes Iceland also Samish Iceland, possessed the eastern part of Iceland Lopez, Cypress and Fidalgo Iceland Iceland. However, the losses by the treaty with the United States included a considerably larger area. In 1969, the Samish, probably not listed due to an error, return to the list of recognized Native American tribes.

In 1971, joined the tribe of the Small Tribes Organization of Western Washington, which is particularly attended to the needs of the many small tribes in the west of the state. That same year, the tribe received $ 5,754.96 as compensation for 37 km ² of land that had been expropriated by the Treaty of Point Elliott.

1979 her application for recognition was denied, but on 26 April 1996, the Samish Indian Nation was again recognized as a tribe.

Current situation

The leadership of the tribe accepts a tribal council, known as a Tribal Council. It consists of 11 members. 1974 recommended to the District Court for the so -called Blood Quantum rule that could only be Samish, who had a certain number of Native American ancestors.