NW Native American Communication
December 03, 2010
Our report addresses the Native American culture, including information on general characteristics, as well as some specific to our area. There are Native American tribes throughout the United States; in Washington State alone there are 29 federally recognized tribes. Native Americans account for approximately 1.8% of the population of our state. In Kitsap County there is the S’Klallam tribe, with a reservation in Little Boston (Kingston), and the Suquamish tribe, located in Suquamish and Indianola.
A local example would be the S’Klallam tribe that has more than a 10,000 year history in this area. The S’Klallams created a rich culture of art, song, spirituality, traditional knowledge and social structure. This culture promotes leadership, self-sufficiency, self-reliance and a code of conduct within their community that serve as a basis for strength, pride and survival.
Life is different today than it was centuries ago, but there is still a great deal of pride and independence in Native American culture. Pride in one’s tribe, one’s roots, care of the land, and respect and love for nature characterize the Native American lifestyle. There are also values that emphasize humility, respect for elders, learning through storytelling, and concern for group harmony. Although not considered a value, there is a characteristic mistrust of the federal government among Native Americans. With that mistrust, Native Americans have had difficulty with institutions that they feel do not adequately meet both their medical and spiritual needs.
Tobacco has historical importance to many Native Americans, considered sacred by many and often used for prayer to show respect, to offer spiritual protection, and is sometimes even used to heal. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was often used as a form of currency. Native American pipe ceremonies involving tobacco connect the...