Suquamish / Duwamish

Famous Suquamish / Duwamish Chiefs and Leaders

Historical Leaders / People

Chief Si’ahl (AKA Chief Seattle or from si’áb Si’ahl, meaning “high status man Si’ahl.”)  Noah Sealth  is the name on his gravestone. Another transcription of the name Si’ahl is see-YAHTLH. – The city of Seattle is named after him. Coast Salish tribes did not have political chiefs in a European sense, so “chief” is also rather arbitrary.

Chief Seattle was prominent in both the Duwamish tribe and the Suquamish tribes.

Si’ahl’s mother Sholeetsa was Dkhw’Duw’Absh and his father Shweabe was chief of the Dkhw’Suqw’Absh (the Suquamish Tribe). It is said that Si’ahl was born at his mother’s Dkhw’Duw’Absh village of Stukw on the Black River, in what is now the city of Kent.

As a boy, Si’ahl saw British Captain George Vancouver’s ships passing through the Khwulch (Puget Sound) in 1792. Vancouver anchored the ships HMS Discovery and HMS Chatham at the Dkhw’Suqw’Absh summer village at Restoration Point, near the southeast corner of Bainbridge Island. Si’ahl and his father Shweabe saw the British visitors to Puget Sound.

Family of Chief Seattle

He had two wives and sired seven children, notably Princess Angeline (Kikisoblu in Lushootseed) and Jim Seattle.
His first wife, a Duwamish woman by blood, was called Ladaila, a French-Canadian slang for “Girly,” an affectionate nickname. Her Lushootseed name is unknown. Lalaida gave birth to two daughters, Princess Angeline (Kikisoblu) and Mary.

First Daughter:  Kikisoblu, Princess Angeline
First Husband:  Dokub Cud (Skagit and Cowchan)
Second Husband: Talisha (Duwamish Chief)
 Lizzie, Also called Betsy
 Husband:  Joe Foster
 Child: Joe Foster, Jr. (Raised by Kikisoblu)

 Kikisoblu’s Daughters: Mary, also called Mary Talisa and Enie Marie
 Husband: William DeShaw
 First Husband:  Seth McPhee
 Second Husband: J.C. Thompson

With his second wife, named Owiyahl, Chief Si’ahl two sons and three daughters, whose names are today unknown.  According to Sca’la, Lummi Elder Pauline Hillaire, the second wife of Si’ahl was daughter of Sakhumkun the Older. Sca’la is a descendant of  Sakhumkun.

First Son: Jim Seattle
Married (unknown)
Son: Moses Seattle (Moses Seattle was a dwarf)
Second Son:  George Seattle, also called Sakhumkun the Younger
Daughters: Si’ahl and Owiyahl had three daughters (unknown)
Cheslahud (aka Lake John, Cheshiahud, Cheslahud, Lake John Cheshiahud, or Chudups John) – Cheslahud was the leader of a Duwamish village on Lake Union named hehs-KWEE-kweel (‘Skate’). He served as a travel guide to Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Lake Sammamish in the days before roads were built in the City of Seattle and its suburbs of the “Eastside.”

Contemporary Leaders

Cecile Hansen – Great-great-grandniece of Chief Sealth, has been the elected chair of the Duwamish Tribe since 1975, as well as a founder and the current president of Duwamish Tribal Services. In line with the re-asserted Native presence in Seattle, the tribe established Duwamish Tribal Services in 1983 as a non-profit 501[c]3 organization to provide social and cultural services to the Duwamish Tribal community. Hansen has also dedicated herself to gaining treaty rights for the Duwamish.

James Rasmussen – Of the Duwamish Trib, hee has been a leader since 1980 in efforts to restore the Duwamish River, working with citizen groups and other tribe members. Accomplishments include gaining federal Superfund Site status for the last 5 miles (8.0 km) of the river from Turning Basin and Herring House Park to the mouth. The lower Duwamish was the site of the former concentration of Duwamish villages before substantial European contact.

Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation

The Duwamish Tribe adopted a constitution, bylaws, and further structure in 1925, but as of 2009 they are not recognized as a tribe by the United States federal government.

Cecile Hansen, great-great-grandniece of Chief Sealth, has been the elected chair of the Duwamish Tribe since 1975, as well as a founder and the current president of Duwamish Tribal Services.