TNC Executive leadership, trustees and staff met with the Stillaguamish Board of Directors, Tribal members and staff to express mutual gratitude for the latest milestone in an ongoing partnership rooted in healing. As TNC humbly acknowledged the lasting impact of colonization—which not only harmed Indigenous peoples but also deteriorated landscapes—the Stillaguamish Tribe expressed appreciation for TNC’s generous support towards raising the 4.6 million dollars needed to purchase the zis a ba III property.


Restoring and Reconnecting to Place

An estuary is a crucial place of biodiversity, with salt and fresh waters mixing to host a variety of species. It is where calm, productive waters allow juvenile salmon to feed on the abundant prey produced in the tidal wetlands. Traditionally, these lands play a crucial role in supporting Stillaguamish identity by serving as a physical, cultural and spiritual connection to their heritage. The estuary provides a sense of place and continuity, reinforcing the Tribe’s community and unique practices.

Before European colonization, tribal villages were situated nearby the estuary, as it was a place of significant biodiversity. After the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot, Indigenous peoples living along the Stillaguamish River were removed from their traditional lands and relocated to reservations. The Stillaguamish were asked to relocate to the nearby Tulalip reservation, yet many stayed and continued to live along the river.  

There are villages and camp sites up and down the Stillaguamish River and all over the delta. Stillaguamish people found a way to stay close to home in order to protect those places by making a hard choice to not follow others to the Reservation during those dark and confusing times. There is an obligation of protecting the ancestors and their places that could only be fulfilled if they stayed home.

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