Published on December 31, 2012 by Amy
The Lummi (pron.: /ˈlʌmi/ lum-ee; Lummi: Xwlemi [χʷləˈmi]; also known as Lhaq’temish), governed by the Lummi Nation, are a Native American tribe of the Coast Salish ethnolinguistic group in western Washington state in the United States. The Tribe primarily resides on and around the Lummi Indian Reservation, at 48°45′59″N 122°38′20″W to the west of Bellingham and 20 miles (32 km) south of the Canadian border, in western Whatcom County.
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The Lummi were forcibly moved to reservation lands after the signing of the Point Elliott Treaty in 1855. The reservation has a land area of 54.378 km² (20.996 sq mi), that includes the Lummi Peninsula, and uninhabited Portage Island.
In pre-colonial times, the tribe migrated seasonally between many sites including Point Roberts, Washington, Lummi Peninsula, Portage Island, as well as sites in the San Juan Islands, including Sucia Island.
Many tribal members were Christianized in the late nineteenth century by the Catholic Oblate order.
The traditional lifestyle of the Lummi, like many Northwest Coast tribes, consisted of the collecting of shellfish, gathering of plants such as Camas and different species of berries, and most importantly involved the fishing of salmon. The Lummi developed a fishing technique known as “reef netting”. Reef netting was used for taking large quantities of fish in salt water. Lummi had reef net sets on Orcas Island, San Juan Island, Lummi Island and Fidalgo Island, Portage Island and near Point Roberts and Sandy Point.
From July 30 to August 4, 2007, the Lummi hosted their first potlatch since the 1930s, the Paddle to Lummi. 68 canoeing families paddled hand-made canoes to the Lummi Reservation from parts of Washington and British Columbia.
The Lummi language (Xwlemi Chosen, IPA: [xʷləmi tʃɔsən]) is more precisely a dialect of a language called North Straits Salish.
It is estimated that there are 6,590 people living on the Lummi Reservation. Roughly 2,564 of these people are enrolled tribal members, 665 are either related to or live with an enrolled tribal member, and 3,361 are not tribal members nor are they affiliated with the Lummi Nation.
There are approximately 1,864 homes located on the reservation. Approximately 697 of these have an enrolled Lummi living in the home; thus, roughly 1,167 homes on the reservation do not house a tribal member. The 2000 census official numbers were 4,193 persons residing on its territory, of whom 1,828 (43.6 percent) were whites, and only 2,114 (50.4 percent) were of solely Native American heritage.
As of April 2010 there are 4,483 enrolled tribal members. 49.6% of the enrolled population is female; 50.4% of the population being male.
The median age of tribal members is 29. 31.8% of the enrolled population is 18 or younger. 11.6% of the enrolled population is 55 or older.
According to current studies conducted by the Lummi Nation, approximately 78% of the enrolled Lummi tribal members live either on or near the reservation boundaries. Enrolled Lummi tribal members have an average household size of approximately 4.5 persons.
A recent collaborative study conducted by the Lummi Nation and Northern Economics Inc. found the following information pertaining to the Lummi Nation workforce.
For the adult population (ages 25–64): 15.1% of the enrolled population does not have a high school diploma or a GED; 33.8% of the population has either a high school or GED degree; 27.1% of the population has some college experience; 14.9% of the tribal population has either an AA/AS degree; 7.5% of Lummi’s population has a bachelors degree; and 1.6% of the population has attained a graduate or professional degree.
61% of the adult population (ages 18–64) is employed—moreover, the labor workforce participation rate is 74%. The unemployment rate of Lummi’s workforce is 15.9%. The median monthly income for employed Lummi tribal members is approximately $2,000.