Trail Project Team Members...
Project Lead Celeste Kardonsky Dybeck, Jamestown SíKlallam Tribal Elder, longtime member of the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (QUUF), and Native Connections Action Group member.
The nəxwsƛŠy'm' (strong) People
ďSíKlallamĒ derives from nəxwsƛŠy'm', meaning ďstrong people.Ē The Jamestown SíKlallam Tribe is one of three SíKlallam bands; the others are the Lower Elwha Klallam and the Port Gamble SíKlallam Tribes. Before European settlement and treaty times, the SíKlallams were one people living on the North Olympic Peninsula, Vancouver Island, and across the San Juan Islands to the Bellingham area.
For several thousand years, the SíKlallams possessed a rich social and religious culture based on the abundant natural resources of the Northwest Coast, wintering at permanent village sites, and moving seasonally to other locations in their traditional territory for fishing, hunting and gathering. They were craftspeople skilled in woodcarving and basket making, and they fashioned decorative and utilitarian items from local plants, especially the Western Red cedar tree.
SíKlallam contact with Europeans began in the 1700s and increased in the 1800s, after the establishment of Hudsonís Bay Company trading posts in the Northwest. The SíKlallam people traded at Fort Langley, Fort Nisqually, and Fort Victoria, which were established in the 1820s, 1830s, and 1840s, respectively. The SíKlallam Tribe entered into the Point No Point Treaty with the United States in 1855, but they resisted removal to the reservation of the Twana people at Skokomish, preferring to remain close to their traditional areas. In 1874 the SíKlallam from the villages at Dungeness privately purchased 210-acres of land, establishing Jamestown, north of present-day Sequim. The population of Jamestown at the time was around 100, with about 17 families buying into the acreage. Citizens of the Tribe supported themselves by gardening, farming, fishing, providing transport by canoe, and working in the lumber mills in the surrounding area.
In the 1930s, the Tribe was given the choice of moving to the reservations designated for the other two SíKlallam Tribes or remaining where they were, unrecognized. They chose to stay on the land they had bought themselves. Tribal citizens received services from the federal government until 1953 when the government ceased recognizing them as Indians. Beginning in the 1950s, the three SíKlallam Tribes combined to litigate land claims and fishing rights. In cases that went to the Supreme Court of the United States, the SíKlallams ultimately regained the fishing rights they had been granted in the Point No Point Treaty, starting with the landmark Boldt Decision of 1974, which mandated that the State co-manage fishery resources with the Tribes.
Facing increasing problems in the areas of fishing rights, health care, and education due to lack of federal recognition as a Tribal entity, the Jamestown Tribe began an intensive effort to obtain recognition in 1974 and adopted a constitution in 1975. They received federal recognition on February 10, 1981. Since then, the Tribe has pursued land acquisition and economic development, using the resulting revenue to provide health, social service and educational and other benefits to its citizens.
Chief Chetzemoka is perhaps the best remembered SíKlallam leader, because he befriended the early Port Townsend settlers and helped the SíKlallam negotiate the difficult changes in their lifeways. The spirit of partnership still thrives today.
A Note About Language
Exhibit Home | Sponsors | About | PDF Trail Map