As a representative of the Washington State Office of Public Defense, I would like to show respect by acknowledging the lands that we stand on are the Traditional Lands of the Squaxin, Nisqually, and all Coast Salish peoples who call this land home.
Since time immemorial, Coast Salish peoples have engaged in trade, culture, and governance through potlatch and other expressions of autonomy in Olympia, Washington. This area was a bustling hub and ceremonial gathering place for many Coast Salish peoples, fostering excellent relationships that remain in perpetuity. These lands connect the Medicine Creek Treaty Tribes by kinship and sacrifice; to retain land from the Medicine Creek Treaty, Tribal bands that now make up the Squaxin, Nisqually, Puyallup, and Muckleshoot people all fought together to ensure the posterity and prosperity of their people.
The erasure of the steh-chass village of bus-chut-hwud, which resided not four blocks from our office, represents the sacrifices they endured, as they were removed to multiple different reservations. Yet despite this, Coast Salish peoples retain their stewardship of these lands and champion for the continued perseverance of environmental and social justice. We honor Tribal sovereignty and self-determination and thank them for their contributions to Washingtonians' state and local history, culture, economy, and identity; the Office of Public Defense will continue to acknowledge these truths as we strive toward justice.