The Squaxin Island Tribe of western Washington state has received lands back from private owners. A forestry company, Port Blakely Companies, returned 2 miles of waterfront and 125 acres of ancestral tidelands on Little Skookum Inlet. Tribal ancestors were maritime people who lived along the shores and watersheds of the seven southernmost inlets of Puget Sound. The company also sold the tribe 875 acres of upland forest which it stewarded before the Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854, when they ceded 4,000 square miles (2.56 million acres) to the US government. “It is hard to put into words what it feels like to have back land that the tribe never regarded as theirs, or anyone’s, but rather a gift to steward on behalf of future generations,” said tribal chairman Kris Peters. “I can’t wait to drum, and sing, and dance out on those beaches, just like our people did hundreds, and thousands of years ago.”

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