Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe

The S'Klallam tribe is situated in Sequim (near the bigger town of Port Angeles) in the Seattle area, in Washington. It is a tribe currently consisting of 147 people and is a tight knit community with factors such as their economic status and healthcare status important components within their community.
The Jamestown Economic Development Authority (EDA) aims to help tribe members and their long term financial security and sufficiency by doing things such as: encouraging entrepreneurship within the tribe, strengthening existing tribal businesses and providing employment, as well as their casino, self storage and fireworks businesses which all play a big part in helping with the financial status of the tribe.
The tribe also has a high standard of healthcare, with a family health clinic and dental clinic, in which health insurance is paid by the tribe and the facilities can also be used by non tribe members.

Ten thousand years prior to the tribes creation, a nation (loosely belonging to S'Klallam tribes) of people lived on the lands in Washington and focused on self-sufficiency, leadership and self reliance, whilst creating a creative culture of art, song and spirituality.
From this original collection of people, the more specific S'Klallam tribe was created in 1790 and defined itself from the other tribes that it was connected to by its emphasis on the importance of community and culture, with inter-marriage being one of its features. The Point No Point treaty was signed in 1855.
However, after White settlers came to Washington in 1870, tribes were being pushed out and being forced to relocate to reservations. Some of the S'Klallam's managed to raise enough money to buy 210 acres of land in the Washington territory, therefore beginning the Jamestown S'Klallam community, with the population then being about 100 people.
Up until 1953, the tribe received services from the federal government until it chose to no longer 'recognise' them. Although, in 1981, due to economic hardship, the tribe was able to gain recognition from the government again, and because of this have been able to provide their high standard of health and educational care.
They have been named a 'progressive' Indian community and it is not hard to see why.

It seems to me that the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe is an incredibly fast-moving and caring tribe. It cares about its members (particularly with the high standard of health care and its economic efforts) and is very modern in its style of community. Economic problems no longer seem to be an issue and the S'Klallam tribe definitely does not fit the stereotypical tribe idea with issues such as alcoholism, high suicide rates and economic hardship. Of course, there is a possibility that these are all present within the community, but the success of the tribe and the hardships that it suffered a hundred years ago seem to have paved the way for a happy and successful community for its tribe members today. It seems that it towers high above other, less-fortunate, Native American tribes in America today.


                                                                        Health Centre

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