Tribal Treaties Statement
Pierce County includes 1,806 square miles of ceded lands of four Federally recognized Tribes: the Puyallup Tribe, the Nisqually Tribe, the Muckleshoot Tribe, and the Squaxin Island Tribe. These Tribes are sovereign governments that predate the founding of the United States, and their sovereignty is an inherent right that has existed since time immemorial, recognized with a government-to-government relationship by the United States1.
We recognize that the traditional and current homelands of these Tribes and their territorial lands, waters, and air are contiguous and transcend U.S. government-established boundaries. This means the quality and abundance of the County’s natural resources directly affects the quality and abundance of natural resources of Tribal Nations.
The Pierce Conservation District is a non-regulatory entity, and while we do not hold federal trust responsibilities, we recognize that the Pierce Conservation District works to conserve natural resources that are the foundation of a Tribes’ rights to their ceded land. We practice equity by understanding the historical and cultural context of the land we steward, and the people, cultures, and communities the health of the land impacts.
Tribal governments have their own programs and organizations dedicated to conservation, with standards that often exceed County, State, and even National guidelines. We are thus dedicated to making sure our efforts complement and support the important conservation work of the Tribes around us. Without sustainable natural resources, the United States government cannot meet its federal trust responsibility to Tribes. We also recognize that natural resources have physical, cultural, ceremonial, spiritual, and historical meaning to Tribal Nations, and take seriously our role in the stewardship of these resources and reaffirm our commitment to conservation.
1For more information on Treaties and Tribal sovereignty: https://nwtreatytribes.org/treaties/
*This statement is still undergoing review by the Muckleshoot Tribe and Squaxin Island Tribe and may be edited in the future based on that feedback.