Well after news that Seattle wasn’t going to have an annual Fourth of July fireworks show this year, The Seattle Times is reporting that a grass-roots effort has managed to raise $500,000 (half of it supplied by Microsoft and Starbucks) to keep the tradition alive. Personally, I think this is pretty awesome. It shows what people and businesses can do if they rally together behind a common cause.
Of course, there are a lot of causes out there… One thing that came to mind after thinking of all the things that $500K could do was the plight of the Duwamish Tribe. They have been seeking federal recognition for decades, and were recognized at the end of the Clinton administration. Of course, the incoming Bush administration overturned that decision. They have since been suing the federal government asking them to reverse the 2001 Bureau of Indian Affairs decision that the tribe is extinct and have been trying to raise $100,000 to hire an expert witness in reviewing 31,000 pages of documents from the BIA. Supposedly, this will be their last chance at federal recognition. As the Tribal Chairwoman, Cecile Hansen, has previously said, “If everybody in Seattle gave us one dollar, we could raise the money for our legal defense.”
I don’t know that all of this means anything significant. Obviously, as Americans, many people greatly value entertainment events and businesses relish opportunities for positive press coverage. It is interesting though, that this city is named after Chief Si’ahl who was half-Duwamish and half-Suquamish. And the Duwamish have achieved a great deal with their recently built Longhouse, but they are still having to fight for federal recognition as a Tribal entity, including against other local Native groups such as the Tulalip and Muckleshoot Tribes.
Duwamish Longhouse interior, from Wikimedia Commons