The Swinomish Reservation is located on Fidalgo Island in Western Washington State. It is the home of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, a federally recognized tribe. The Swinomish Tribe is descended from and is a successor to tribes, including Swinomish, Kikiallus, Samish and Lower Skagit, that inhabited the Skagit Valley and Puget Sound islands for thousands of years before non-Indian settlement.
The Swinomish Reservation was established in 1855 by the Treaty of Point Elliott. The Treaty reserved the part of Fidalgo Island which was known at the time as Shais-quihl. Treaty time maps show that the western boundary of the Swinomish Reservation is a north-south line between Fidalgo and Similk bays. The eastern boundary follows what is now known as the Swinomish Channel.
In 1873, President Ulysses S. Grant issued an Executive Order which attempted to unilaterally change the western boundary of the Swinomish Reservation. The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that only Congress – not a President - can reduce the size of a reservation.
This unlawful attempt to take a portion of the Reservation and other violations of the treaty remain a painful part of Swinomish tribal history.