On a rainy Saturday afternoon, a strong brew of native tea warms up the crowd at the Duwamish Longhouse in West Seattle. The tribe has hosted this casual tea party every spring since the longhouse opened three years ago, along the Duwamish River bank.
“Are you all happy to be here?” asks Cecile Hansen, chairwoman of the Duwamish Tribe.
Hansen thanks the 50 or so people for coming, then she enlists their help in the tribe’s fight for recognition. “I would send a really tough letter to our President just saying, ‘Okay, sign the status back to the Duwamish people’,” Hansen says.