Puyallup Tribe of Indians

Mailing Address

5580 Pacific Hwy E. Suite C
Fife, WA 98404

Contact Information





Cultural History

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians has long lived in the shores of the Puget Sound thousands and thousands of years ago. The tribe is known in their native tongue as the S'Puyalupubsh which literally means "generous and welcoming behavior to all people whether friends of strangers who enter their lands". Hence, the tribe is known to be hospitable and ever welcoming to the visitors. The tribe is part of the Salish speaking people coming from the Pacific Northwest. Their native tongue is known as the "Lushootseed". Most of the relatives of the tribe also spoke the same stock language but they were also known to have different dialects. The tribe entered into intermarriages as well as common religions, myths and traditions. They were sociable people who loved to interact with the others and so they seldom had conflicts with the other neighboring tribes. 

The Puyallups tribe is one of the first few who signed the Treaty of the Medicine Creek in the year 1854 together with then territorial governor Isaac Stevens. The treaty set up the boundaries of the Puyallup Reservation and pointed out the specific rights of the tribal members. The rights included the free access to hunting and fishing areas.

The tribe is known to fight for their rights. After the signing of the Medicine Creek Treaty, it was noticeable that the rights to the fishing grounds were slowly not recognized. The tribal members did not fret but instead took over actions that could be useful in their demand over their traditional rights. Their efforts were noticed by the public and soon enough, they gained sympathy. Marlon Brando, a well renowned actor was arrested when he went fishing in what supposed to be the tribal grounds for fishing in the Puyallup River in 1964. He was together with the tribal members when he wasa arrested and so the arrest was much publicized.

A decade later, George Boldt, a Federal Judge, passed down the Boldt Decision against the United States case versus Washington. The decision involved an allocation of fifty percent of the annual catch of fish for the Puyallups and the other residing tribes located in the western portion of Washington.

The representatives of the tribe entered several negotiations in the 1980’s. The negotiations aimed at encouraging the tribe to accept a settlement. The tribe formally accepted the settlement worth over one hundred sixty two million dollars in cash, real estate and programs that aimed for economic development. The settlement was granted in exchange of the tribe giving up their claims to the land area of about 18,000 acres of land located along the Commencement Bay. The resolution resolved the disputes between the tribe and the government.

Nowadays, the tribal membership is up to 3,800. Their members are professionals, like lawyers, fishermen and doctors. They also have many entrepreneurs who continue to earn success in business ventures. The tribe has maintained their tradition through pow wows and art exhibits. The tribe is the owner of the Emerald Queen Casino and the tribe is also the primary operator of several other business enterprises.

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