I want to start with thank you. Thank you for coming here and being willing to support a cause that I hold dear. Thank you for being willing to help my community. Thank you for supporting an organization that supports some of the most forgotten members of society. And thank you for joining my virtual ‘team/table’ to help in making a difference. My team goal is to raise $3,000, with help from all of you, I know this is possible.
United Indians of All Tribes Foundation is a social service providing organization, helping the Urban Native community of Seattle, King County, and beyond. This March was the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Fort Lawton by Bernie Whitebear and the other 100+ Native Activists, which led to the creation of Discovery park, Daybreak Star Center and United Indians. Many people are unaware of our history and of the activism that brought us to where we are today. I am so grateful to those activists who fought for a place within the city to practice their culture and welcome all future Indigenous people to Seattle. At its creation in the 1970s Daybreak Star was the only Native led space, opened for use as a cultural heritage center. This meant it held the largest and some of the first intertribal pow wows in Seattle. Daybreak Star has been the site of countless weddings, memorial services, cultural events, and community gatherings. The center also houses the only Native owned and operated Indigenous arts gallery, giving space exclusively to Indigenous artists. Daybreak welcomes any and all to come in and experience the permanent collection from artists from all corners of the Americas, stay for a community event and dinner, or join us for our annual pow wow.
We at United Indians have 13 programs, serving our population from the moment they come into the world through our Daybreak Star Doulas program all the way through life to our Elders program. For all the years in between we have programs that are shaped by the needs and requests of our community. We have many diverse programs, and I am happy to talk about any of them, so go for it, ask me about them :)
Seattle has an ugly history when it comes to our Native populations. While I consider myself a proud Seattlite, I am NOT proud of how my city has ignored, suppressed and actively persecuted Native peoples. In the early years of Seattle’s history it was illegal for anyone of Native ancestry to live within city limits, land which only a few years before had been their ancestral land. Today Seattle benefits from cultural tourism such as native art, totem poles and ‘cultural exhibitions’. However the only native owned gallery in the city is at Daybreak Star Center, and the totem poles proudly displayed around the city were stolen from an Alaskan Tlingit village during an expedition in 1899 by some of Seattle's most affluent members of white society. Additionally, Argosy Cruiseline’s Tillacum Village claims to be an immersive cultural opportunity but it isn’t native owned or benefitting, and doesn’t show local tribes but rather those of British Columbia. WE HAVE FAILED OUR NATIVE PEOPLES ON AN EPIC SCALE. From forceful removal from ancestral land, exploitation of treaties, multiple generations of stolen children, boarding schools and the traumas inflicted there.The influx of Native people in the urban setting happened through the Indian Relocation act of 1956, Red-lining within the city, dissolving of tribes and reservations as an aftermath from that. The Opium crisis has hit reservations hard, Native people experience police brutality at higher rates throughout the city, Indigenous women are 10 times more likely to be murdered than the national average; causing the movement of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women movement. These are just a few of the ways that we as society have failed our Native Peoples, if you are unaware of these issues, it only highlights more that we have placed little importances on the injustices that we have caused these people. I see my work at United Indians as one stone trying to fill in the giant hole Seattlites have rent in the cultural fabric of this land. United Indians is here, has been here, and will be here to give space to the native people who have called this area home since time immemorial. This is especially important to the people choosing to leave their reservations to seek greater economic opportunities in the city. Seattle has one of the highest Urban Native populations in the country and yet I am sure many of you have never seen their culture having a space in this city. We are working to better that. And we have! Over the last 50 years United Indians has expanded our programs, ensured our people are housed, and worked with our local government, neighbors and organizations to fill in the needs that are seen by the community.
Your donations, shares, and support are helping us to make the changes we so desperately wish to see in this city, bringing more visibility for our tribes and tribal people, and creating opportunities to share their history and culture with the greater Seattle area. In the last 50 years, United Indians has expanded our programing, and our service reach. We are now based out of 3 locations; Daybreak Star, Columbia City, and the Labateyah Youth home in Crown Hill. In February of 2019, we expanded to entrepreneurial endeavors, opening the first Native run business in the SeaTac airport. This kiosk has helped us to become more self reliant. We hope to someday soon welcome the annual inter-tribal Canoe Journey to the shores of South Lake Union, to the land our founder set aside on the shores 30 years ago, to build a canoe house. This will ensure that tribal culture will be something that is active and experienced rather than seen through relics which helps us to continue our legacy of activism. Our goal is to have space to be native, on the land that has been occupied for 200 years, through treaties that have been violated and ignored. We work hard each day to close the gap that has been created many generations of broken promises, genocide and cultural persecution. Please ask me questions. There are SO many misconceptions about native peoples, tribes, and their needs. I don't have all the answers, I am not a Coast Salish Native person, but I am a good place to start if you have questions.
Thank you for your time, generosity, and support,
Development Director for United Indians of All Tribes Foundation