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About the Nisqually Indian Tribe

The Nisqually people have inhabited the watershed for thousands of years. According to the native legends, the Squalli-Absch—ancestors of the modern Nisqually Indian Tribe—first came north from the Great Basin and crossed over the Cascade Mountain Range to erect their first village in what is now the Skate Creek basin.

The original Nisqually reservation was established by the Medicine Creek Treaty of December 26, 1854. The reservation consisted of a total of 1,280 acres on Puget Sound. In 1856, an executive order enlarged the reservation to 4,717 acres.

In 1884, the reservation land was set aside and divided into 30 separate family allotments located on both sides of the Nisqually River. The people lived in peace harvesting fish from the river and growing potatoes on the prairie tracts. In the winter of 1917, the U.S. Army moved onto Nisqually lands and evicted the families from their homes. Later, the Army sanctioned 3,353 acres of their land to expand the Fort Lewis base.

On September 9, 1946 (amended 1994) the Tribe's official constitution and bylaws were approved. The Nisqually Indian Tribe reservation now stands at 1,000 acres which have been reacquired in the past 25 years. It rests in the Nisqually River region in rural Thurston County, 15 miles to the east of Olympia, Washington.

The governing body of the Tribe is the General Council which is made up of all the enrolled tribal members over the age of 18. A tribal council comprised of seven tribal members elected by the Tribe's voting membership oversees the daily business and economic affairs of the Nisqually Tribe.

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