CHS Land Acknowledgement

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CHS Land Acknowledgement

Capital High School and the area it serves rests on the traditional homelands of the Squaxin Island Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation. These Tribes established communities throughout Western Washington, including the West Olympia area. Historically, Squaxin Island and Chehalis shared a considerable amount of land in present-day Tumwater and Olympia. As a result, the two communities heavily intermingled. They would often trade, potlatch, and partake in other traditional activities together. As a result of this unique connection to the area, a strong and caring relationship has been created between the Tribes and the land. 


In acknowledging the rich narrative between the Squaxin Tribe, the Chehalis Tribe, and the land, it is equally as important to discuss the reason why we stand here today. Throughout the history of the United States, the federal government has forcibly removed many Indigenous Nations from their traditional homelands onto small, isolated plots of land called reservations. While some Tribes were moved as a result of treaty agreements, a considerable number of Nations were relocated as a result of Executive Orders.


The U.S. government’s intent during this process was to strip all Native Americans of their traditional cultures, languages, and beliefs in order to not only assimilate them but eventually exterminate Tribes entirely. The U.S. government attempted to achieve this goal through the supervision of reservations by non-Native Indian agents, the termination of several Tribes, and the forcible removal of Native children from their reservations to residential schools far from their homes and families. Though these highly traumatic events have had an immense impact on Indigenous communities throughout the United States, the U.S. government’s influence on Tribes has changed greatly over time. 


Despite innumerable challenges, all Tribes and Indigenous people across the United States- whether they be federally recognized or not- have continued to prove their resilience and strength time and time again. Today, many Native cultures, languages, and beliefs continue to thrive as a result of this perseverance. From here, there is only growth.