Duwamish Tribe claims their cultural artifacts have been confiscated by the Port of Seattle

information from the Duwamish Tribe

The Duwamish Tribe would like its cultural artifacts back. Last July, the Burke Museum was paid by the Port of Seattle to confiscate $800 worth of Duwamish cultural artifacts on display at the Duwamish Longhouse & Center. The artifacts were from the Duwamish #1 Archeological Site, an old Duwamish camp and village site across the street from the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center.

The tribe received a call from the Burke Museum on Feb. 27 that the artifacts will be given to the Muckleshoot Tribe in Auburn.

Unknown to the Duwamish Tribe, 2 years ago the Port of Seattle declared that it wanted to surplus its archeological artifacts including those from the Duwamish Archeological Site #1 bordered by the Duwamish River and W Marginal Way SW.

How did the Port come to own the archeological artifacts? In the early 60’s, the Port declared eminent domain, and bought out the interests of area residents to make way for the building of Terminal 107. Because of environmental issues, the terminal was never built. The area was also the site of the last original shoreline of the Duwamish River. As the land was being cleared, the Duwamish #1 Archeological Site was discovered and dug in the 1970’s. The archeological site is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been set aside as a public park. The Port retains ownership of the site.

The Duwamish Tribe has sent a letter to the Port proposing to buy back its cultural artifacts for display at the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center.

“It would seem that best public good & cultural value would be to continue to display the artifacts from this site at the Seattle location where they were found. “

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