Tribes in the Central Puget Sound Region

Puget Sound is a part of a larger area that has been the traditional aboriginal territory of the Coast Salish peoples, who live around the Salish Sea in what is now Washington state and the Canadian province of British Columbia.

Puget Sound: Ancestral Lands of the Coast Salish

Map of tribal lands in the central Puget Sound region.The Coast Salish Tribes have lived here since time immemorial and while each Tribe is unique, all share in having a deep historical connection and legacy of respect for the land and natural resources. These sovereign Tribal nations enrich the region through environmental stewardship, cultural heritage, and economic development, and collaborate with local governments to shape the region’s future.

Each Tribe has its own government with its own governing charter or constitution and set of general laws. The federal government currently recognizes nine Tribal nations in the region:

  • Muckleshoot Indian Tribe*
  • Nisqually Indian Tribe
  • Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe
  • Puyallup Tribe of Indians*
  • Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
  • Snoqualmie Indian Tribe*
  • Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians
  • Suquamish Tribe*
  • Tulalip Tribes*

* Formal members or associate members of the Puget Sound Regional Council. Tribes are regularly invited and encouraged to be PSRC members.

Federally recognized Tribes in the central Puget Sound region

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe - bəqəlšuł

The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, with more than 3,000 members, has a reservation in southeast King County. Tribal operations include the White River Amphitheatre, Emerald Downs and Muckleshoot Casino.

Nisqually Indian Tribe - dxwsqʷaliʔ abš

The Nisqually Indian Tribe has more than 650 enrolled members, a majority of whom live on or near the reservation. The tribe works to restore and enhance habitat, including the Nisqually Delta, and is one of the largest employers in Thurston County.

Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe - nəxwqiyt nəxwsƛ̓̀̀áy’əm’

The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe has over 1,200 members and a reservation along Port Gamble Bay near Hood Canal. The Noo-Kayet Development Corporation is the economic development agency of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

Puyallup Tribe of Indians* - spuyaləpabš

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians has more than 4,000 members and is considered one of the most urban Indian reservations in the U.S. Puyallup provides a full range of government services and collaborates with local governments on projects, including transportation improvements. The tribe operates the Emerald Queen Casino and Hotel.

Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe - saʔqʷəbixʷ-suyaƛ̓̀̀ʔbixʷ

The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe is located near Darrington and has approximately 200 members on its 34-acre reservation. After being re-recognized in 1973, the tribe has grown steadily, acquired land, and developed new infrastructure, and continues investing in local business.

Snoqualmie Indian Tribe* - sdukʷalbixʷ

The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe has approximately 650 members and is located in the Snoqualmie Valley. The Tribe's businesses include the Snoqualmie Casino, Eighth Generation, and the Salish Lodge. Since 2010, the Snoqualmie Tribe has donated more than $12 million to nonprofits in Washington State.

Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians - stuləgʷábš

The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians has over 230 members in Snohomish County. The tribe invests significant resources in maintaining natural resources, including management of a fish hatchery that restores chinook and coho salmon runs, and the tribe’s Marine Stewardship and Shellfish Program. Tribal enterprises include a casino, hotel and retail services.

Suquamish Tribe* - dxʷsəqʷəb

The Suquamish Tribe is located on the Port Madison Indian Reservation in North Kitsap County. The tribe’s economic development agency, Port Madison Enterprises, is the second-largest private-sector employer in Kitsap County with over 750 employees.

Tulalip Tribes* - dxʷlilap

The Tulalip Tribes of Washington is located on the Tulalip Reservation near Everett. The Tulalip Reservation is 22,000 acres, where over half of its 4,000 members live. They operate the Tulalip Resort Casino and Quil Ceda Village.

Tribal Treaty Rights

Under treaties signed with the United States in the 1850s, many Tribes in the region ceded most of the state of Washington, but in exchange reserved fishing and hunting rights including off-reservation rights to fish in all usual and accustomed fishing grounds and the right to hunt and gather on open and unclaimed lands. Federal courts have interpreted the nature and extent of those retained rights and have ruled that sovereign Tribes, along with the state of Washington, have co-management responsibility and authority over fish and wildlife resources.


Tribal Planning

Tribes engage in land use planning and economic development to provide jobs, housing, and services, as well as the infrastructure to support and plan for growth. As sovereign nations, Tribes are not required to plan under the Growth Management Act but recognize the importance of coordination and cooperation with all governments to deal with challenges such as population growth and climate change facing the region. PSRC recognizes and respects the full sovereignty of each Tribe and their traditional lands located within the jurisdictional boundaries of PSRC members.


VISION 2050 

VISION 2050 supports meaningful, regular and ongoing exchange of information and opinions for better informed decision-making and mutual understanding between Indian Tribes as sovereign nations and PSRC member jurisdictions.

VISION 2050 policy, MPP-RC-4, directs the members of the Puget Sound region to coordinate with Tribes in regional and local planning, recognizing the mutual benefits and potential for impacts between growth occurring within and outside Tribal boundaries. In coordination with the Tribes in the region, PSRC has prepared a handout on coordination with Tribes in comprehensive planning.

Further, PSRC supports partnerships with Tribes on cultural and natural resource protection, fish and wildlife habitat restoration, economic development, climate change adaptation and mitigation actions, and other issues of Tribal interest.