CITY OF SEATTLE & UNITED INDIANS OF ALL TRIBES AGREE TO 99-YEAR LEASE OF FT. LAWTON
On March 8, 1970, Colville Bernie Whitebear led American Indian activists [later known as the United Indians of All Tribes (UIAT)], in a peaceful occupation of the Army’s Fort Lawton outside Seattle. Their goal: Reclaim the surplus Federal land pursuant to the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie to build a cultural & social service center to help urban Indians and to celebrate their cultures & traditions. The occupation, which drew public support, forced Seattle to meet the UIAT Council in June of 1971. By November, after 5 months of negotiations, they reached agreement to “lease” 16 acres to the UIAT Foundation for 99 years with an option to renew. Senator Henry Jackson then supported UIAT’s applications for Federal grants to help fund what is now the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. The land was transferred on August 30, 1972. Additional financial support came from Seattle & the Economic Development Administration. Groundbreaking came on September 27, 1975 with dedication on May 13, 1977.
Sources: Karen Smith, “United Indians of All Tribes Meets the Press,” Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium. Retrieved 7/6/2021, United Indians of All Tribes Meets the Press: News Coverage of the 1970 Occupation of Fort Lawton - Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project (washington.edu) Lossom Allen, “By Right of Discovery, Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium. Retrieved 7/6/2021, By Right of Discovery: United Indians of All Tribes Retakes Fort Lawton, 1970 - Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project (washington.edu) Photo: Bernie Whitebear courtesy of Daybreak Star Cultural Center.