Nisqually Indian Tribe

Mailing Address

4820 She-Nah-Num Drive
Olympi, WA 98513

Contact Information




Cultural History

The Nisqually Indian Tribe's original reservation area was a 1,280 acres of land located on the Puget Sound. The reservation was established under the Medicine Creek Treaty signed on the 26th of December in 1854. An Executive Order signed on the 20th of January, in 1856, widened the land area of the tribe into 4,717 acres located on both sides of the Nisqually It was one the 30th of September in 1884 that the acreage was set aside so it could be divided into thirty family allotments also located on both sides of the Nisqually River. The acreage did not include the river so it did not belong to the tribe. For quite a long period of time, the people of the tribe lived peacefully and harmoniously in their allotments. The tribe harvested fish from the river, shellfish, crabs, oysters and other sea foods coming from the sound. This was their simple yet content lifestyle. The tribe, in addition, received some other few government rations. During the winter in the United States in the year 1917, the United States Army traveled to the lands of the tribe and ordered them to leave immediately. The raid was so spontaneous that the tribe was not even given a warning to find new settlement. They were literally thrown away from their homeland. Later on, the Pierce County condemned some other 3,353 acres of Nisqually land so that it could be transferred to the United States' army's property. The land is now the expansion of the Fort Lewis Base.

The Nisqually tribe was used to living in watersheds. They have long lived in the watershed for thousands of years and according to one folklore, the Suqalli-absch, the ancestors of the Nisqually Tribe, arrived north coming from the Great Basin, crossed the Cascade Mountain Range and established their first village in a basin which is now popular as the Skate Creek, which is located just outside of the NIsqually River Watershed’s southern boundary. Years later, a major village was built which was near the Mashel River. The tribe had always been known to be good fishermen, and salmon was most of the time incorporasted in their diet. They are currently the primary steward of the Nisqually River fisheries resources, and the operator of two fish hatcheries of which one is located on the Clear Creek while the other is situated on the Kalama Creek.

Today, the tribe is settled in the Nisqually River in the rural area of the Thurston County which is fifteen miles on the east of Olympia, Washington. The 2005 Census Data revealed that the tribe has 5,719 Native Americans, of which 600 are enrolled in the tribe and are residing on the reservation. Another 5,119 of its population do not live in the reservation but in the other reservations located on the Thurston and the Pierce Counties. Their reservation is at 5,000 acres. They are engaged in business enterprises that include information technology, gaming and health services.

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