Skokomish Indian Tribe

Mailing Address

North 80 Tribal Center Road
Skokomish, WA 98584

Contact Information

360-426-4232

Website

http://www.skokomish.org/

Casino(s)

Cultural History

The Skokomish Indian Tribe we know today is not like how it used to be before. It is actually composed of the Twana Indians, the Salishan people. These Salishan people used to inhabit the Hood Canal drainage basin in the western Washington. In 1792, the tribe came in close contact with the European culture. This then actually cause an epidemic to rise in the tribe. The smallpox epidemic took many lives including those of the youth.

There are nine Twana (the original name of Skokomish) communities. The largest of these nine is the Skokomish also known as the big river people. They thrived on hunting, fishing and led a nomadic lifestyle. They had no permanent residence and we always resettling depending on the season. In 1938, the Skokomish Indian Tribe of the Skokomish Indian Reservation in the State of Washington was recognized fully as an Indian tribe under the constitutional laws. Their name comes from the skookum + mish which literally mean “Strong People”. Their language is called the Twana Language or the Skokomish language. It comes from the Salishan family of the Native American Languages. It is said to have come from the Lushootseed because of a common tradition of not speaking the name of a deceased for one year. 

During the 1900’s, the tribe encountered several difficulties including natural disasters. Also during this time, a business tycoon from Tacoma acquired the land located between the west and main channel in the opening of the Skokomish River. Because of this, several pant species including sweet grass which were used for basket weaving, vanished leaving the tribe with nothing. It was also during that time when the shellfish gathering were restricted and so, the tribe did not have anything to gain industry from. Aside from this, in 1926, dams were constructed that led to the destruction of the tribe’s natural habitat. It also paved way to the lessening of the tribe’s saltwater access. In 1965, $374,000 price money was granted to acquire a fish processing plant, as well as to serve for the tribal housing. In 1974, the tribe’s efforts to sustain their land led to victory through the Boldt Decision. They are now found in the Skokomish Indian Reservation in the central part of modern-day Mason County. The said reservation is 21.244 kilometers squared and according to the 2000 census data, it has a population of 730.

The modern tribesmen today are in continuous effort to gain a boost in their economy for the betterment of their lives too. They have started purchasing properties for economic development. They have also reiterated their fishing and logging industries. The tribe now has their own business ventures including those of hatcheries, gas stations and convenience stores. They also regard their industry to the basketry and pottery which their ancestors have taught them. 

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