P’SQUOSA LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT CASCADE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP
Click here to view the video of this land acknowledgement
We gather on the homeland of the p’squosa1, land spanning from the banks of the Columbia River to the Cascade Mountains. As many as 2,000 p’squosa lived here for generations upon generations and were the stewards of this land. The p’squosa people still live here.
In the 1855 Yakima Treaty and the cession agreement of 1893, the p’squosa ceded land to the United States and retained 36 square miles of land at the confluence of the Wenatchee River and Icicle Creek, close to the where the town of Leavenworth currently exists. The traditional hunting, fishing and gathering rights of the p’squosa were also retained and guaranteed.
For almost two centuries, the United States government has broken its treaty obligations. The rights of the p’squosa were intentionally stolen by the government through fraudulent surveys, indifference, and intentional violations. Much of the p’squosa land was illegally transferred to colonists and corporations, and to the railroad to build a Cascade Mountains crossing. None of the remaining land was preserved for the p’squosa. Hunting, fishing and gathering rights were tied to the land by the colonist legal principles of “property rights,” and became unenforceable. Most of the p’squosa were forced to move by this loss of their traditional land and resources. Many eventually relocated to the Colville Reservation.
In 2010, the Icicle Creek fishing rights of the p’squosa were finally confirmed through litigation after several decades of political and legal work. The government still refuses to acknowledge the land rights of the p’squosa.
The p’squosa continue their traditions and seek to have all their rights recognized.
As Unitarian Universalists we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, that human relations must be governed by justice, equity and compassion, and respect for the interdependent web of all existence. We support the inherent rights of the p’squosa as Indigenous People and acknowledgement of the treaty rights they retained. Support includes building relationships with the p’squosa, advocating for government recognition of p’squosa rights, and increasing awareness of and education about p’squosa history, culture, traditions and language.
1 nxaʔamxčín is the language of the p’squosa [šnp̓ əšqʷáw̓ šəx]. Written nxaʔamxčín does not have a “proper noun” convention and there is no capitalization. Followng this written language convention, p’squosa is not capitalized. No disrepect is intended.