On Monday, January 23, 2023, we will be honoring Treaty Day across our Ferndale School District community.
There is no school for students on Monday, January 23 in observance of Treaty Day.
On January 22, 1855, the United States of America entered into a solemn agreement with the Lummi Nation. On that day, representatives from these two independent sovereign nations came together in Mukilteo and made promises to one another about how their respective peoples would share the land and resources of this region -- land that had been the traditional homelands of the Lummi people for more than 150 generations. The agreement they signed is called the Point Elliott Treaty.
A sovereign nation refers to a group of people who live within a defined territory according to a defined system of government, and who are neither dependent on or subjected to any other power or state. A sovereign nation has the capacity to enter into binding agreements with other sovereign nations.
A treaty is a promise made to one another by two equal groups. It is a compact that defines the ways those two groups will live together in harmony. On January 22, 1855, both sides who signed the Point Elliott Treaty promised to live by it forever -- for all future generations.
Treaty Day is an important part of ALL of our history. It is not a Lummi Nation event. Every one of us who lives in this region has benefited from the fact that the Lummi ancestors and our pioneer ancestors chose to come together in peace to determine a way that we could all share this beautiful land. As Washingtonians, we are all Treaty people. If it weren’t for treaties between the United States and the 29 sovereign nations within the Washington territories, we would not have become the state we are today.
For too long, our traditional history textbooks have ignored or downplayed this important aspect of our shared heritage. As Ferndale educators, we are committed to providing our students with a complete and accurate understanding of their history. That is why we have made the decision to honor Treaty Day. That is why we have worked together with Lummi tribal leaders to develop lessons we can use to teach our students the meaning of Treaty Day in every school within the Ferndale School District.
On January 22, please join us in observing Treaty Day by learning more about this significant historical event.