Seattle to return nearly 300 artifacts to Upper Skagit Tribe

The Associated Press

SEATTLE — Hundreds of historic artifacts will soon be returned to the Upper Skagit Tribe from the city of Seattle.

The city has had the stone and bone artifacts since Seattle City Light crews excavated the Gorge Inn site northeast of Seattle in 2013 for a renovation project, KUOW reported. The Seattle City Council voted this week that the tribe should have ownership of them. It was a unanimous vote, 8-0.

The Upper Skagit Tribe formerly had a permanent winter village along the Skagit River.

Part of the land, northeast of Seattle, is city of Seattle property which includes the Gorge Inn, a dining hall and historical site in Newhalem. The site is a historic Seattle City Light company town, near four hydroelectric dams the city operates.

The artifacts are housed in Marblemount at the North Cascades Visitor Center.

The new city ordinance says the tribe wants to reclaim them because the items hold historic and cultural significance. Among them are flaked cobble tools, scrapers, chopping and cutting devices and hammerstones.

The tribe historically carried out fishing, shellfishing, hunting and gathering activities from the saltwater areas all the way to the mountainous upper reaches of the Skagit River, according to tribal history.

When white settlers seized land in the 1880s, the Upper Skagit Tribe says more than 100 canoes of people met with settlers to protest land takeover.

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