Tlingit Haida Seattle Council Washington Chapter

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We are a local community council of the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indians of Alaska (CCTHITA), a sovereign entity with a government to government relationship with the United States based in Juneau, Alaska. The Central Council is made up of elected delegates from 18 Southeast Alaska communities as well as Anchorage, San Francisco and Seattle. Currently there are approximately 4,000 tribal citizens in the Seattle area.

The Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian Nations have existed as separate and distinct people in Southeast Alaska and Canada since time immemorial. In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) was founded by Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian leaders who united to work to correct the injustices experienced by Alaska Natives throughout the Territory of Alaska.

At its 1929 convention in Haines the ANB passed a resolution to sue the United States government for the creation of the Tongass National Forest and the Glacier Bay National Park without the permission of the indigenous people of Southeast Alaska. The suit was filed in the Federal Court of Claims. The ANB was later advised that only federally recognized tribes could sue the United States over aboriginal land claims. The ANB petitioned Congress to recognize the aboriginal people of Southeast Alaska as a tribe. On June 19, 1935, an act of Congress, recognizing the Tlingit and Haida people as a single tribe, was passed.

Our local chapter was founded by a group of Alaska Natives who migrated from the villages and towns of Southeast Alaska and settled in the Seattle area. In the late 1950’s they formed the Tlingit & Haida Citizens Association and began meeting in private homes and rented halls.

When the group learned that Alaska Natives not residing in Alaska were to be excluded from the tribal rolls being established in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, they sought recognition as a Tlingit & Haida chapter. Even though Seattle delegates were not able to vote, during these years members continued raising funds to send delegates to the annual Tribal Assembly in Alaska.

In 1966 the Seattle delegates presented a resolution to the Tribal Assembly based on language from the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) that stated an individual meeting the requirements of the tribe could not be excluded from the tribal rolls no matter where he or she lived. Adoption of the resolution gave full recognition to the Seattle and San Francisco chapters. Although residency requirements could not keep members off the tribal rolls, it did have a direct affect on tribal members living outside Alaska.

Tribal citizens living in Seattle are ineligible for most services and programs offered by the Central Council. Over the years the Washington Chapter has raised the funds it needs to support its activities and events locally—through community dances, food sales, donations and raffles. To enhance these efforts, Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska Washington Chapter is incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, TIN 91-0891385.