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Treaty Day

On Wednesday, January 22, 2020, we will be honoring Treaty Day across our Ferndale School District community.

There is no school for students on Wednesday, January 22 in observance of Treaty Day.

Thank you to Children of the Setting Sun Productions for producing this video. We encourage you to watch this video and learn more about this historic event.

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 is in observing Treaty Day by learning more about this significant historical event. 

Additional Resources and Information

There is no school for students on Wednesday, January 22 in observance of Treaty Day.

For employees of the school district, our observance of Treaty Day on January 22 does not constitute another paid holiday for any Ferndale staff member. Neither will it result in a day less of instruction for our students, who will still have the opportunity to attend 180 days of classes this school year even though there is no school for students on January 22.

Some of our employee groups have contracts that specify a certain number of work days. Most teachers, paraeducators, bus drivers and food service personnel, for example, have contracts that specify they work 180-184 days. They will still work the same number of days during the current school year as they have in the past. However, one of them will not be January 22. 

Some of our employees have year-round contracts. This includes administrators, some administrative assistants, custodians, and maintenance personnel. Year-round employees may choose to take Treaty Day off as a vacation day or personal leave day. Or they may choose to work January 22.