A lot of us pay rent, and sometimes it can be at an exorbitant rate. But for many of us, it’s the price we’re willing to pay in order live in a place with a solid economy and gorgeous views everywhere you look.
But long before we got here, the Duwamish tribe called 54,000 acres from Seattle to Bellevue and down to Renton home. They were the original caretakers, or landlords, if you will, of this land. And now that we’re living and working in their ancestral land, there’s this question of “how responsible are we for making past wrongs, right?”
There’s an opportunity for you to decide for yourself, thanks to an effort to pay the tribe a little back rent. Some people have already bought into the idea that goes by "Real Rent Duwamish," which was coordinated by a group of volunteers known as the Duwamish Solidarity Group.
But why would people pay rent to the Duwamish in the first place? Four words: lack of federal recognition. The Duwamish aren't recognized as an official tribe by the federal government, which means members get no rights promised to them in the initial Treaty of Point Elliott that Chief Seattle signed in 1855.
In this story, we'll give you background about how the tribe's status got to this point and why the volunteers that created the "Real Rent" project think it's important to pay the Duwamish for living in the City of Seattle.