Our people are fortunate to have a special partnership and agreement with the Forest Service on our ancestral lands and ceded territories where our ancestors lived. The swədaʔx̌ali Co-Stewardship area is a place that has been designated as an important mountain area where our people can go and gather huckleberries, where our youth can learn about how to be in these special places, and where our tribal Natural Resources Department can work as stewards of these ancestral lands to sustain the berries and other resources. We want this area to remain beautiful and pristine and continue to give our people the foods, medicines and strength we need from the high mountains. It is our hope and vision that we can nurture these lands in the ways of our ancestors to ensure these resources and these lands continue to be available and used by our peoples for many, many years to come.
The Tulalip Tribes, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, has conducted activities to restore the fragile landscape of swədaʔx̌ali, and to enhance cultural resources in the area, like huckleberry.
In 2011, Tulalip Tribes Natural and Cultural Resources staff, joined by staff from the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the University of Washington worked together to develop a strategy for restoration of a mountain meadow in the swədaʔx̌ali area, badly-damaged by illegal off-road vehicle use. Tulalip Tribes were able to secure grant funding and staff contributions that allowed us to repair and replant the meadow with native plants from the local area, and with the participation of Tulalip tribal youth.
One of primary purposes of the establishment of the swədaʔx̌ali Co-Stewardship Area was to provide increased opportunities for tribal harvest of key cultural resources, including mountain huckleberry. In addition to harvest, Tulalip believes that is equally important to have a meaningful role on the ground, in the stewardship of resources so important to us, as we had for many thousands of years.
Tribal Elders and Cultural Resources staff have shared their perspectives and traditional teachings as they address taking care of special areas and resources in places like swədaʔx̌ali
Our ancestors have always taught us that that by learning and following our traditional teachings, nature will continue to regenerate her gifts for our people. Our elders are hoping that our people will honor this special place, swədaʔx̌ali Co-Stewardship Area, by conducting themselves in the way of our ancestors: