Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Joins Attorney General Ferguson in Lawsuit Against Trump Administration

On January 4, 2021, the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe joined Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson in filing a federal lawsuit against the Trump Administration over the accelerated sale of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) building in Seattle.

Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert De Los Angeles participated in a press conference with Attorney General Ferguson this morning. “The Seattle National Archives has played an integral role in preserving the history and legacy of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe,” said Chairman De Los Angeles.  “When our Tribe had to fight for the federal government to recognize our rights and sovereignty, the Seattle Archives was a nearby resource that allowed us to conveniently access our own history and prove our case.”

In January 2020, the NARA facility was authorized for sale by the Trump administration and 12 other “high value” federal properties. In October 2020, the federal government decided to fast-track the timeline and decided to sell all 12 properties as a “portfolio.” There was no public notice given about the decision to accelerate the sale, and tribes were not properly consulted with at any point in the process.

The records at the National Archives at Seattle are essential and irreplaceable to this region and the Snoqualmie people. The building hosts historical records of 272 federally recognized tribes. It also hosts documents from the National Archives building in Anchorage once it was closed in 2016. Very little of the information has been digitized. The Federal government plans to split the content between archive centers in California and Missouri, requiring tribes and others to travel a significant distance to access the documents.

Twenty-eight of Washington’s tribes have joined the lawsuit and nine community organizations, historical preservation societies, museums, and the state of Oregon.  “It would be unconscionable to remove this valuable public institution, and the irreplaceable Tribal history and records it contains, from its constituents in the Pacific Northwest. We support Attorney General Ferguson in standing against this arbitrary and harmful decision,” said Chairman De Los Angeles.

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