The Lummi Nation is a Native American tribe located in the western region of Washington state in the US. This tribe primarily resides on and near the established Lummi Indian Reservation, and identify themselves as hunters, fishers, gatherers, and harvesters of nature. The Lummi tribe is a nation of people who are proud of their long and rich history.
The original language of the Lummi tribe is the Songish dialect of the Salish language, and many in the tribe still maintain the speech. For nearly 12,000 years, the Lummi tribe built their villages near the sea and throughout the mountainous areas of Washington. Living this close to the water allowed them a rich diet of trout, salmon, and other seasonal marine and land wildlife such as elk. The community of Lummi was closely centered around family and spiritual guidance, while leaders were chosen for their wisdom and strength.
Today many in the Lummi tribe continue the traditions revolving around family and respect for nature, but most of the tribe has converted to Christianity. Although the tribe did not experience foreign influences until around 1800, they have successfully integrated themselves into American society while maintaining their roots. Trade between the Lummi tribe and countries like Japan, Spain, and the British allowed the tribe to develop an international economy, but unfortunately most traders did not want the goods produced by the Lummi as much as they wanted their land.
Efforts have been made to maintain the salmon population which the tribe depends on, including a salmon hatchery on their reservation. This particular fish has been especially important not only to the Lummi diet, but also in their culture, and its preservation is an important goal for the tribe. The responsibility taken by the Lummi tribe to re-grow the salmon population and only take what is needed from the population stems from their ancient legend of the Great Salmon Woman. This practice has been passed down through generations, and has aided wildlife conservationists in their ongoing efforts to save several endangered species of the fish.
Obtaining their status and protected land through the US government was a long road, but the future for the Lummi tribe now looks very bright. The tribe artisans create works of art both in clothing and decor form, which are used to trade, along with other products, with the world outside their reservation. Open policies and adaptation to change has allowed the tribe to survive and will likely continue their success.