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First-Ever Tribal Nations Summit: Tribal and urban Native leaders, Mayor Harrell, Council President Juarez create shared commitments

On May 2, 2023, the City of Seattle was humbled to host the  Tribal Nations Summit to bring together Tribal and City leaders to strengthen our regional community and better achieve mutual goals through government-to-government engagement. The summit represents an historic opportunity to chart a new future for City-Tribal relations. For the first time, City and Tribal elected representatives met to honor our respective authorities to serve our people and protect the lands and waters we share.


“For the first time in Seattle’s history, we are charting a sustainable pathway for Tribal and urban Native engagement in public policy,” said Donny Stevenson (Muckleshoot), vice chair, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and member of the City’s Indigenous Advisory Council.

“We are intentional about developing government-to-government relationships,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “It’s going to be based on meaningful and consistent engagement and constructive dialogue centered on the priorities that you are telling us need to be made. We want to provide opportunities for our city officials, our staff, and our residents to learn from the Native people of this land. We will continue to seek ways to amplify the voices, experiences, priorities, and histories of the Indigenous peoples of this land.”

City leadership had the opportunity to listen and learn directly from Tribal leaders on how to work together more effectively as regional government partners and Tribal and urban Native leaders held direct conversations with Mayor Harrell, Deputy Mayors, and other City leadership that focused on three areas of shared concern: housing and homelessness, natural and cultural resources, and public safety. 

Read the report from this historic gathering to hear the wisdom, guidance, and instructions shared with City leadership. The report identifies a series of shared expectations and initial commitments, including 23 initial actions that better uphold the sovereignty and treaty rights of Tribes, build partnerships, and enhance diplomacy.     

With the counsel and partnership of Tribal and urban Native leaders, we now embark on a journey to a more accountable partnership in making progress as a City.

“I want to emphasize the importance of today’s gathering,” said Tim Reynon (Puyallup), director of Tribal Relations at the City of Seattle. “This is the first government-to-government gathering between federally recognized Tribes and the City of Seattle. It wasn’t all that long ago that our people were banned from even coming into the city by township ordinance.”