Snoqualmie Tribe enacts 2% land protection tax to help preserve ancestral lands
The Snoqualmie Tribe has instituted a new land protection tax that’s believed to be the first of its kind in North America.
The new tax is being collected on various sales made at the Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie and has been in effect since March 1. Snoqualmie Falls is one of the tribe’s most sacred sites and is also a popular tourist destination.
In a statement, the tribe says revenue from the 2% land protection tax will go towards projects and expenses associated with the tribe’s work to protect their ancestral lands.
“It's really important to have the tribe's voice in those conversations. We're talking about protections of cultural resources, and natural resources," says Jaime Martin, a tribal member and Executive Director of Governmental Affairs.
"Sometimes it means having the staff to be able to be engaged in consultation in the way that we should be able to be at the table, being a part of those conversations. Sometimes it takes the shape of making sure that we have [the] staff capacity to be having creative conversations about how we can collaborate with nonprofits and businesses, and other groups who are also working on this, these types of issues. So it takes all kinds of different forms.”
Last year the Snoqualmie Tribe purchased thousands of acres of ancestral forestlands in east King County. They say the property, which they have named the Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Forest, has environmental, economic, and historic value.
Martin says so far, there hasn’t been much pushback about the new tax.
“[Actually], there's been a lot of people who are very supportive and happy to...know that those funds are directly going to something that is very impactful and meaningful, and will make a difference for generations to come.”
The Salish Lodge & Spa and much of the surrounding land have been owned by the tribe since 2019.