Published on December 28, 2012 by Amy
The Jamestown S’Klallam is a tribe of the S’Klallam or Klallam Native American group on the northern Olympic Peninsula of Washington state in the northwestern United States. It was formed by members of S’Klallam communities along the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in 1874 when, faced with the threat of forced relocation by white settlers, a group purchased a tract of 210 acres (0.85 km2) and established a community near Dungeness named “Jamestown” in honor of village leader James Balch. This was a notable feat, since at the time native people were legally barred from buying property. Despite periodic pressures to relocate to reservations, and without the Federal financial assistance that such relocation would have enabled, the Jamestown band maintained its independent community, and developed a viable economic base.
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A century later, after a six-year effort to receive official recognition as a tribe, the United States Department of the Interior granted them such recognition on February 10, 1981. The Jamestown S’Klallam Indian Reservation, at 48°01′39″N 122°59′57″W, is very small in area, comprising 0.145 km (35.87 acres) of land area on and near Sequim Bay in the community of Blyn, in extreme eastern Clallam County at the southwest corner of the Miller Peninsula. At the time, most tribal members, although strongly connected to their community, did not wish (or need) to relocate to the new Reservation. The resident population on this territory was thus only 16 persons as of the 2000 census.
Tribal properties are located on 20 acres (81,000 m2) of tribal land on Sequim Bay along U.S. Route 101 at Blyn, east of the city of Sequim. These include the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center, the tribe’s Seven Cedars Casino, and other existing and planned developments. The community is governed by a tribal council, which is elected by democratic vote, and which is often held up as an example for its responsible planning and sound fiscal management. As of 2006, the tribe had 526 enrolled members, and provided services to almost 640 Indians in the northeast Olympic Peninsula. The tribal center is more or less the functioning town square for the community of Blyn.
The S’Klallam language (called Clallam or Klallam) belongs to the Salishan family of Native American languages. The word S’Klallam means “the strong people.”
The tribal mission statement reads:
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe seeks to be self-sufficient and to provide quality governmental programs and services to address the unique social, cultural, natural resource and economic needs of our people. These programs and services must be managed while preserving, restoring and sustaining our Indian heritage and community continuity.
The Tribe is governed by the five-member Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Council. Council members are elected on a staggered basis by the registered adult tribal members for two-year terms. The council acts in accordance with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Constitution.