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Swift will represent Port Gamble S'Klallam at White House conference

Port Gamble S
Port Gamble S'Klallam Councilwoman Francine Swift, at an early planning meeting for the 2011 Canoe Journey, in January at the Samish Indian Nation. Swift will represent Port Gamble S'Klallam at the White House Tribal Nations Conference Dec. 2.
— image credit: Richard Walker / file photo

LITTLE BOSTON – Francine Swift will represent the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe at the third White House Tribal Nations Conference, Dec. 2 at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman will represent the Suquamish Tribe.

For the third year in a row, President Obama is hosting a gathering of Native leaders in the nation’s capital to address the concerns of America’s First Peoples.

Swift, a Port Gamble S’Klallam council member, will be one of 565 Native leaders at the conference. Port Gamble S'Klallam Chairman Jeromy Sullivan attended the first and second conferences.

“As part of President Obama’s ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his administration,” according to a statement from the White House.

“This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President’s commitment to strengthen the nation to nation relationship with Indian country.”

Each federally recognized tribe has been invited to send one representative to attend the meeting.

Port Gamble S'Klallam is a signatory of the 1855 Point No Point Treaty. The U.S. government, represented by Gov. Isaac Stevens, negotiated a treaty with S'Klallam, Chimakum and Skokomish leaders – the first U.S./S'Klallam government-to-government consultation – for acquisition of 750,000 acres of land, clearing the way for non-Native settlement in the region. The signers received $60,000, land set aside for a reservation, and a commitment of education and health care assistance. They also retained fishing, gathering and hunting rights in their historical territories.

The reservation was established at Skokomish; S'Klallam reservations were later established at Elwha, Jamestown and Port Gamble.

The signers never relinquished their sovereignty, or right of self-government, as independent nations. Article Six of the United States Constitution establishes the Constitution and the laws and treaties of the United States made in accordance with it as the supreme law of the land.

Today, the S’Klallam are involved in habitat restoration and resource protection in their historical territory through the Point No Point Treaty Council, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, and through consultation with local governments.

The Port Gamble S'Klallam government has departments which manage child and family services, cultural resources, early childhood education, economic development, health services, housing, natural resources, and public safety. The reservation has an extended-campus site of Northwest Indian College, which offers two-year degrees and a four-year degree in Native Environmental Science.

 

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