November is National Native American Heritage Month, also referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Across the country, local governments, schools, and communities are celebrating the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native peoples.
People representing more than 100 different sovereign Tribal Nations, Corporations, Villages, and other Indigenous communities have migrated here and made Burien their home, often after having faced forced displacement from the ancestral homes and lands of their people and culture. Burien’s Indigenous and urban Native communities are complex and diverse. They include many people who enjoy multiple Tribal affiliations and who are proud of their rich, complex ancestry and heritage.
Salish Peoples of the Puget Sound have been present in what we now know as Burien for thousands of years. The Duwamish in particular had long and prominent presence, and Three Tree Point has special significance to Duwamish history and mythology.
The closest federally recognized tribe to Burien is the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. More than 95 percent of their members are of Duwamish ancestry, and they work closely with the City of Burien and Highline Public Schools.
Signs of our Native past show up in many places throughout Burien. The Environmental Science Center has placed signs throughout Seahurst Park that share the English, Latin, and Lushootseed names for many familiar plants. Public artwork honoring local and global Indigenous identities are scattered throughout the city. The “Indian Trail”—or “Moonlight Trail”—a pathway protected by City code, follows the same path tread by centuries of Native peoples.
This is the first year that the City of Burien and Burien City Council has acknowledged this heritage month as well as Indigenous Peoples Day in October. This year, the City of Burien is also developing its first Native Land and Peoples Acknowledgment, in partnership with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and other community leaders. These efforts mark the beginning of a new chapter in the City’s relationship between sovereign tribal nations and local Indigenous leaders.
- Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
- Highline Heritage Museum
- King County Library System Native American Authors Book List
- National Museum of the American Indian
- Tahlequah Dreams Nurtures Next Generation of Native Scientists
- Highline Native Education Program
- Support Native American-owned businesses