Have you ever read a treaty signed by the recognized government of the United States and native tribal leaders?
Shortly before midnight on Wednesday, May 30, 1792, British Captain George Vancouver anchored his ship the Discovery off shore of a point of land native Americans used as winter camp, mukl-te-oh. On Monday, January 22, 1855, territorial Governor Isaac Stevens (1818-1862), met at Point Elliott with 82 Native American leaders including Chief Seattle. In the presence of many tribesmen, a treaty was signed by which native inhabitants ceded their lands to the United States government in exchange for relocation to reservations, retention of hunting and fishing rights, and a specified amount of cash.
Treaty of Point Elliott, 1855
Articles of agreement and convention made and concluded at Muckl-te-oh, or Point Elliott, in the territory of Washington, this twenty-second day of January, eighteen hundred and fifty-five, by Isaac I. Stevens, governor and superintendent of Indian affairs for the saidTerritory, on the part of the United States, and the undersigned chiefs, head-men and delegates of the Dwamish, Suquamish, Sk-kahl-mish, Sam-ahmish, Smalh-kamish, Skope-ahmish, St-kah-mish, Snoqualmoo, Skai-wha-mish, N'Quentl-ma-mish, Sk-tah-lejum, Stoluck-wha-mish, Sno-ho-mish, Skagit, Kik-i-allus, Swin-a-mish, Squin-ah-mish, Sah-ku-mehu, Noo-wha-ha, Nook-wa-chah-mish, Mee-see-qua-guilch, Cho-bah-ah-bish, and othe allied and subordinate tribes and bands of Indians occupying certain lands situated in said Territory of Washington, on behalf of said tribes, and duly authorized by them.
The said tribes and bands of Indians hereby cede, relinquish, and convey to the United States all their right, title, and interest in and to the lands and country occupied by them, bounded and described as follows: Commencing at a point on the eastern side of Admiralty Inlet, known as Point Pully, about midway between Commencement and Elliott Bays; thence eastwardly, running along the north line of lands heretofore ceded to the United States by the Nisqually, Puyallup, and other Indians, to the summit of the Cascade range of mountains; thence northwardly, following the summit of said range to the 49th parallel of north latitude; thence west, along said parallel to the middle of the Gulf of….
In consideration of the above cession, the United States agree to pay to the said tribes and bands the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, in the following manner - - that is to say: For the first year after the ratification hereof, fifteen thousand dollars; for the next two year, twelve thousand dollars each year; for the next three years, ten thousand dollars each year; for the next four years, seven thousand five hundred dollars each year; for the next five years, six thousand dollars each year; and for the last five years, four thousand two hundred and fifty dollars each year. All which said sums of money….
In 1855 between Washington DC and Olympia, Washington, the capital of the state of WA, our less than 100-year-old country still boasted miles of grasslands, herds of antelope and buffalo. Streams gathered mountain snow meltoff into white water rapids as they tumbled into wide rivers, challenging steelhead trout and salmon to fight back to their spawning grounds.
That scene changed with the advent of settlers (1850), the transcontinental railroad (1866), and the invention of barbed wire (1867). Spines of mountains still create geographical weather systems as they collect clouds from the Pacific Ocean, winds from the north and south, their altitude separating lush valleys from deserts. But as for the people seeking opportunity and a good life on this land, the scratching of pens on paper resonated across the miles and changed the land irrevocably.
The winter camping grounds of tribes and native families became a saw mill and a harbor named Mukilteo.