Hanstead Creek parcel (photo by Claire Catania)
Seattle Audubon and Snoqualmie Indian Tribe recently closed on a land donation in the Snoqualmie Valley area, returning land to the Snoqualmie Tribe whose people have lived in the area since time immemorial. The land, approximately 10 acres in size remained undeveloped under Seattle Audubon’s ownership. Now, under the stewardship of the Snoqualmie Tribe, the land will remain undeveloped.
“Seattle Audubon was given this land with the expressed purpose of conserving its biodiversity and there is no one better suited to this task than the Snoqualmie Tribe,” said Claire Catania, executive director of the Seattle-based nonprofit. “White-led conservation organizations like ours have a long history of Indigenous erasure and taking for granted the Indigenous stewardship of our shared lands and waters. Returning this land to the Tribe is one small way that our organization can begin to right past wrongs and ensure the best possible future for the plants, animals, and people of the Snoqualmie Valley.”
The parcels donated include traditional foods and medicinal plants, which will continue to be harvested and cared for by the Snoqualmie Tribe. The Tribe’s ancestral lands have been significantly impacted by development and population growth in the Puget Sound region and as a result it can be difficult for the Snoqualmie Tribal Members to find accessible areas with these traditional foods and medicines intact.
“It means so much to the Tribe for Seattle Audubon to partner with us in this way,” said Robert de los Angeles, Chairman of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe. “There are few gifts more sacred and meaningful than returning ancestral lands to a Native American Tribe that has loved and stewarded it since time immemorial. With this beautiful gesture, Seattle Audubon has touched my heart and earned the gratitude and appreciation of the Snoqualmie People.”
The Seattle chapter’s Board voted to begin the “thoughtful and inclusive” process of removing “Audubon” from the organization’s name.
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