Tulalip Tribes Tour

  • By Margaret Riddle
  • Posted 9/17/2009
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 9151
Point 2: Sandy Point, Whidbey Island, east of the present town of Langley. Point 3: Camano Head. Southern Tip of Camano Island. Point 4: Hat Island/Gedney Island. West of Everett . Point 5: Priest Point/Priest's Point. Point 6: Spee-Bi-Dah. Latitude 48.09167, Longitude: -122.32194. Point 7: Tulalip Mill Site. Tulalip Creek at Tulalip Bay. The mill was located just below present-day Totem Beach Road. Point 9: Mission of St. Anne. 7231 Totem Beach Road. Point 10: Tulalip Tribal Center and Longhouse. 6700 Totem Beach Road. Point 12: New Boom City. Behind the Tulalip Casino Hotel. Point 8: Tulalip Bay. (Mission School site, Marina, Leased Land). tw'LAY-lup

This tour combines a look at both the history and present-day enterprise of the Tulalip Tribes.  It was written by Margaret Riddle, curated by Priscilla Long, with maps by Marie McCaffrey. It was funded by Tulalip Charitable Contributions.

“We respect the community of our elders past and present, and pay attention to their good words.” --Tulalip Tribes Value Statement. 

The history of the Tulalip Tribes is the story of people and place, its ancient past remaining today in stories, language and art.  For generations, the region’s natural resources—marine waters, tidelands, rich forests, freshwater creeks, lakes and rivers—sustained the tribes of Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish and related bands.  But early explorers, trappers, soldiers and missionaries brought diseases that quickly decimated the native population.  By the early 1800s, the tribes were in flux, likely rebuilding and restructuring communities.      

Reservation boundaries set by the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855 confined these tribes to a permanent place, the Tulalip Reservation, abruptly changing an ancient lifestyle.  The reservation is located north of Everett and west of Marysville, bordered on the east by Interstate 5, on the south by the Snohomish River, on the north by Fire Trail Road (146th) and on the west by the waters of Puget Sound.

Those who remained on the reservation have shared experiences -- for good and bad—and today are recognized as a sovereign nation called the Tulalip Tribes.  “Dxwlilep,” the Coast Salish word for the place, means small-mouthed bay.

Since 1936 the Tulalip Tribes has had its own tribal council and is self governing with a 7 member elected Board of Directors.  Each year a board member is elected to serve as Tribal Chairman.    

Drawing on its wealth of natural resources and its location, the Tulalips have worked to achieve economic independence.  For years fishing was the main cultural and commercial enterprise but the Tulalips have profited greatly in recent years from success in real estate and the gaming industry, which provides many jobs for tribal members.  At the same time, the Tulalip Tribes have worked to preserve their fishing heritage and to save endangered species of salmon and have initiated programs to preserve their native language of Lushootseed. 

 Today the Tulalip Reservation has a population of 9,000 (3,600 tribal members) and a land base of 22,086 acres.  The Tulalip Tribes have extended their economic enterprises through the Quil Ceda Village Business Park, Quil Ceda Creek Casino, the Tulalip Amphitreatre, the Tulalip Casino and the Tulalip Resort Casino with its new hotel, which are located just off of Interstate 5.


Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You