The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe

Located on the shores of beautiful Hood Canal in the scenic State of Washington

The Tribe's symbol is the Killer Whale, a frequent visitor to the surrounding waters.

During the past year the Tribe has had the honor to have Tleena Ree Ives, S'Klallam Tribal member serve as Miss Indian USA. She has set a fine example to the youth throughout the nation.

GOVERNMENT

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe is a federally recognized Tribal Government organized under §16, Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (25 U.S.C. 476, 48 Stat. 984). The S'Klallam Tribe is a signatory to the Point No Point Treaty of 1855 with the United States Government and retains all rights not ceded in that treaty ("Reserved Rights Doctrine" U.S. v. Winans, 198 U.S. 371 (1905)). The Tribe is governed by a Constitution and By-Laws and a comprehensive series of code laws covering a full range of procedural and substantive areas including: criminal and traffic violations, family protection (dependent children, guardianship, adoption and domestic violence), housing, fishing, hunting, land use, civil matters, etc.

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Reservation consists of 1340 acres of Federal Trust land. There is no private land ownership on the reservation. As federal trust land, the reservation is subject to applicable federal laws and regulations and tribal law.
The State of Washington asserts jurisdiction on the Port Gamble S'Klallam Reservation only with regard to: compulsory school attendance, public assistance, domestic relations, mental illness, juvenile delinquency, adoptions, dependent children, and operation of motor vehicles on public roads (RCW 37.12). The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe exercises concurrent jurisdiction and primary control over each of these areas.

Today the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe operates as one of thirty Self-Governance Tribes in the United States, striving to reclaim control over their sovereign rights and to lead their people into the 21st century.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Approximately 1000 acres of our land is in forestry with the remaining area in residential, office. The reservation receives approximately 20 inches of rain per year due to its location in the Olympic Mountain rain shadow. The reservation lands rise about 400' from sea level with 20'-40' beach cliffs and gently rolling terrain.

Port Gamble Bay is the last bay in Kitsap County that is still open for commercial shellfish harvest although this is considered a precarious state due to adjoining failing septic systems, increased development within the watershed, and negligent hobby farm practices.

Three streams flow through or originate on the reservation and each has historically supported a local salmon run. The Tribe has a hatchery on Middle Creek. Bear and deer also live on the reservation.

POPULATION & EMPLOYMENT

There are 837 enrolled Tribal members of which 380 reside on the reservation. The majority of off reservation members reside in Kitsap County and the Puget Sound area. Major employers for tribal members are: Tribal Government, associated agencies of the Tribal Government, individual treaty fishing enterprises, and local area businesses.

FACILITIES

Tribal administrative offices, including tribal police, fire, health administration services, health and dental clinics, community church, headstart facility, senior center, county library, Tribal smokeshop, courts, fisheries, an inter-tribal treaty agency office and Tribal Community Council Offices are located on the reservation. The Tribe also has recreation facilities consisting of two neighborhood miniparks, two picnic area, two baseball fields, a full court gym, and two boat ramps.

RECREATION

The Tribe also has recreation facilities consisting of: neighborhood mini-parks, two picnic areas, two baseball fields, a full court gym, two boat ramps.

ENTERPRISES & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

The Tribe operates an active aquaculture program including a salmon hatchery, oyster culturing, herring roe-on-kelp for local markets and for export to Japan, and kelp culturing for enhancement and the passive herring roe-on-kelp fishery. Economic development goals include: expansion of our fishing operations and other gaming, mini-storage activities like office and commercials activities.

HISTORY & CULTURE

Long ago, before people from Europe came to the shores of what is now Washington State, the S'Klallam people lived here between the Pacific Ocean and the inland waters of Puget Sound. There were many small groups or bands of S'Klallam people who lived in villages near the rivers, ocean or bays. Today there are three S'Klallam bands: the Lower Elwha band, the Port Gamble band and the Jamestown band. We are all members of the S'Klallam Tribe as it was long ago.

S'Klallam is the name our neighbors gave us in the beginning. It means "strong and clever people." To be strong we had to be a healthy people, and to be healthy we had to be clever in knowing and using the life-giving food and plants around us. How did the S'Klallam people of long ago know of these things? Our knowledge came to certain ones as a gift of the spirit. Then these people helped others. As the years went by, people learned how to care for themselves and each other, and this knowledge was preserved, and added to, from one generation to another. We did not write these things down; we taught our children and they taught their children.

Because of their geographical location, the S'Klallam people invested a great deal of their time in fishing. Since their territory comprised most of the northern Olympic Peninsula, they had access to a large number of rivers as well as the open waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. They also made seasonal migrations north to the San Juan Island area, where they set up temporary fishing camps, and south to Hood Canal where they shared fishing sites with the Skokomish. The waters within these areas produced countless numbers and varieties of fish, most, if not all of which the S'Klallam utilized. The most important of these was the salmon since it constituted the principal food of the diet. Common among the other varieties of fish they caught were halibut, herring, ling cod, smelt, dogfish (a species of shark), and candlefish. Some of these fish appeared only seasonally, but the S'Klallam had ways of catching and preserving them and so they always had a supply of those particular types of meat at their disposal whenever they wanted a change of diet.

Although the S'Klallam women did a great deal of cloth weaving from many materials, such apparel was generally reserved for special occasions. The everyday clothing of the people was manufactured from the inner bark fiber of the cedar tree. Some people today remark that such clothing must have been very uncomfortable. Yet, the women had a way of processing the bark fiber so that the finished product was very soft and flexible.

Today the S'Klallam people conduct their affairs and live in the in the modern world, yet they retain and manifest their culture in many ways. The way in which they live their lives with strong extended families and social ties and in their consentual decision making style. The strong people continue to live with their culture in their hearts and with an eye always toward the future.


The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribal Council

Gerald J. Jones-Chairman

Harry Fulton-Vice Chairman

Dianna M. Purser-Treasurer

Marie Herbert-Secretary

Jeffrey S. Veregge-Councilman

Ron Charles-Councilman

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe

31912 Little Boston Road N.E.

Kingston, Washington 98346

360-297-2646

360-297-7097 (FAX)