The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe online history museum is featuring an exhibit called “Treaty Rights and Resources,” explaining the tribe’s deep connection to the area’s natural resources, the habitat that supports these resources, and the fight to protect the tribe’s treaty rights.
It is the tribe’s intent to provide Jamestown S’Klallam citizens the opportunity to exercise the tribe’s treaty rights long into the future, said Scott Chitwood, the tribe’s natural resources director.
“We keep the tribe’s treaty rights at the forefront of everything we do. Our mission is to protect those treaty resources that are healthy and restore those that are at risk,” he said. “Our job is all about the tribe’s treaty resources and managing access to these resources by Jamestown S’Klallam citizens. This exhibit is a way to tell the story and document it so people can understand why it is so important to us.”
The online museum includes the tribe’s collection of images contributed by tribal members and collected by the tribe. Other items include documents used by the tribe to receive federal recognition in the 1970s, oral histories, and images of artifacts from archeological digs.
Other exhibits on the site available for viewing are “Jamestown Tribal Council, Past and Present,” “Celebrating Our Coast Salish Canoe Culture,” “Sharing Our Memories: A Collection of Stories and Memories from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Elders,” and “Thirty Years and Time Immemorial: Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Official Federal Recognition of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, 1981-2011.”
The tribe also has small exhibits that can be viewed in person in the tribe’s library on the tribal center campus, which is open to the public. The current exhibit is “S’Klallam Women Artists,” featuring items made by seven Jamestown S’Klallam women.
The online museum is helpful for young people doing school projects about their ancestry and for tribal citizens who live far away, said Betty Oppenheimer, the tribe’s communications specialist.
“We have digitized everything we have gathered in our archives and continue to do so with photo and artifact contributions,” she said.
The current exhibit can be found at http://www.tribalmuseum.jamestowntribe.org/hsg/exhibits/treatyrights/tr_main.php. When a new exhibit is added, this one will still remain available to viewers, like the other exhibits.
The online museum and archive was initially funded in 2009 by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Photo: The Prince family fishing in Washington Harbor in Sequim. Courtesy: Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Archives