ARLINGTON, Wash. – Twenty-eight years after beginning the process, the Stillaguamish Tribe finally has a reservation.
It has been 38 years since the 300-member tribe gained federal recognition, which does not require a subsequent grant of a reservation.
The Stillaguamish have been trying for nearly 30 years to take that next step.
Their first attempt was rejected by the U.S. government because one of the properties did not meet all their requirements.
Since then, “things had stalled due to many factors,” tribal Chairman Shawn Yanity said, including “the inner workings with the (U.S.) Department of the Interior and the tribe’s leadership at the time.”
The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs released its Stillaguamish Reservation Proclamation on July 30.
The Stillaguamish’s new 64-acre reservation includes its Angel of the Winds Casino, which was built on tribal land.
“It kind of gives us that anchor on the map,” Yanity said.
Having a reservation doesn’t really change the day-to-day operations of the tribe, Yanity said. But it’s part of the process for centralizing services like public safety, health care and a community center.
“It lets people know we’re obviously here. It encompasses the area that is already commercialized around the casino,” said Jon Hare, who manages real estate for the tribe. “I think really what it does is put a bold line on it jurisdictionally.”