Tribes and Treaty Rights: An Acknowledgment of Indigenous Lands
We respectfully acknowledge the lands we are visiting are the homelands of Indigenous tribes of the Pacific Northwest, some of whom have reserved treaty rights on these lands. Please tread gently and treat these places with respect.
Washington is home to an amazing variety of natural wonders from rain forests to deserts, oceans views to alpine vistas. These powerful spaces offer rejuvenation, inspiration and so much more to the people who visit them. Yet, it is important to remember that we are all just visitors to these landscapes. Our trail system is built on land taken from Native peoples, neighbors who still have deep cultural and legally-protected connections to the land.
Honoring relationships to land
To help more people understand this history and ongoing relationship, Washington Trails Association has added the following acknowledgment to the top of our hiking guide search page:
We respectfully acknowledge the lands we are visiting are the homelands of Indigenous tribes of the Pacific Northwest, some of whom have reserved treaty rights on these lands. Tribes continue to rely on and share in the management of these lands today. Please tread gently and treat these places with respect.
Thank you to our tribal partners that work with us and that have provided feedback on this statement. We hope it will serve as a reminder that recreation is only one of many ways that people engage with the land here in Washington, and lands are a shared resource. It is important to do our part to protect the land for generations to come. Our statement speaks to all trails and lands across the state and our hiking guide will not identify which tribes have connections to specific hikes or regions. For many Native peoples, a connection to the land goes beyond a specific geographic region. We believe focusing too much on past territories can place the focus on history instead of the ongoing relationship that the tribes — and all of us — have with the lands today.
Modern stewards with thousands of years of experience
The tribes in Washington state have thousands of years of experience managing and stewarding lands. In addition to preserving cultural heritage and sacred sites for generations to come, they restore and protect water and wildlife. They build and maintain public hiking trails. They work closely with other land management agencies. Understanding the relationship between Native peoples and the land you visit is a reminder that there is so much more than recreation happening in Washington’s wild spaces and that you are a key part of keeping the balance that allows for our lands to thrive for generations to come.