Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation, Washington

Published on October 7, 2013 by Amy

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Swinomish Indians
Swinomish Indians

The Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation of Washington, formerly known as the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, is a federally recognized tribe, located on the Puget Sound in Washington. They are an Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest, that include the Central and Coast Salish peoples who lived in the Samish and Skagit River Valleys, nearby coasts, and islands. The tribe includes Swinomish, Lower Skagit, Upper Skagit, Kikiallus, Samish, and Suquamish peoples.

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The Swinomish Medical Center provides healthcare services for local Native Americans. Opened in 2000, the clinic building also houses a fitness center and diabetes program.


The Swinomish Reservation of Washington is located on Puget Sound, on the southeastern side of Fidalgo Island in Skagit County, Washington. It was established in 1855 by the Treaty of Point Elliot. The reservation is 15 square miles in acreage, including 7,450 acres of upland and 2,900 acres of tidelands. According to the 2000 census, the resident population of 2,664 persons, with 23% being fullblood Native Americans.


The tribe’s headquarters is in La Conner, Washington. The tribe drafted its constitution and by-laws in 1936, following the Indian Reorganization Act, which encouraged tribes to re-establish self government.

They are governed by a democratically elected, 11-member tribal council, serving staggered five-year-terms. The current officers of the tribal council are as follows:

  • Chairman: Brian Cladoosby
  • Vice-Chairwoman: Barbara James
  • Treasurer: Steve Edwards
  • Secretary: Sophie Bailey.
  • Language

    English is commonly spoken by tribal members. Some elders speak Swinomish (also known as Skagit), a Lushootseed language that is part of the Central Salish language family. Some also spoke Samish, another Central Salish language.

    Economic development

    The Swinomish Tribe owns and operates the Swinomish Casino and Lodge, 13 Moons Restaurant, Two Café, 10 Sports Bar, the Deli, and an RV park, all located in Anacortes, Washington. The gaming complex generates revenues they apply to health and education for their members.

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