Real Rent and the Duwamish Tribe

Part one of going in-depth on the organizations that we support. Come learn!

Here in Seattle, we live on Duwamish (Dxʷdəwʔabš) land, the first people of Seattle. The importance of acknowledging whose land we live on is rooted in the abolition of neo-colonial institutions that disregard the autonomy and lives of indigenous people. If you don't live in Seattle, you still likely live on someone's land. This website will help you find whose Native Land you live on. From there you can do some research! I've linked some resources at the bottom of this post for you to read through as well.

Continuing to take steps towards acknowledgment and abolition of our institutions that continue to harm indigenous people includes paying Real Rent. This Rent acts like, quite literally, a rent, paid monthly to acknowledge the use of land.

Before diving more into this I first want to give a little overview of Duwamish history that is similar to many other indigenous peoples' history of stolen land and broken promises.

In 1855 the Duwamish made a Treaty with the United States to receive healthcare and education services, hunting and fishing rights, and a reservation in return for the 54,000 acres of land that now makes up most of King County. Ten years after the ratification of the Treaty, the promises made to the Duwamish had yet to be realized. After sending a request to the government demanding the Treaty promises, specifically a reservation, white, residents protested against the reservation citing it “added little value to Native life” and thus the request was denied.

Just a year prior, in 1865, “The Removal of Indians” was passed. This racist ordinance furthered the colonization and erasure of the Duwamish from their land by banning them from city limits. Still, to this day the Duwamish have not received federal recognition nor have any of the Treaty promises been fulfilled by the government.

   Chief Si’ahl' (left), canoe on Lake Union (right)

Real Rent, is a way for individuals to acknowledge the rights the Duwamish have to their homelands while recognizing the harmful realities of colonialism (past and present) and the erasure they face. The Duwamish Real Rent page notes that donations “support the revival of Duwamish culture and the vitality of the Duwamish Tribe.”

Real Rent is a great first step in supporting indigenous people, but you shouldn't stop at just donating. Educate yourself! Learn about whose land you are on and its history (Google is your best friend here). Then act! Advocate for that history to be included in the curriculum in your school district. Talk to friends and family about it. Reach out to the indigenous leaders in your community to support them and amplify their voices. Make purchases from indigenous businesses and artists. 

We, especially white people, must do our part to end our neo-colonial systems that continue to harm indigenous people. I've put together just a few resources that have been beneficial for me and I hope you'll learn a lot from them. This is only a short list of actions to take, but there are many more ways (including non-financial) to support indigenous people. 


100 Ways to Support Indigenous People Article

Environmental Racism and Indigenous People 

The Second Amendment


@gookoosh2020 Daily, 1 minute or less videos to learn about the true history and culture of indigenous peoples.

@lilnativeboy Creates content to make you think about our systems and shares some great resources as well.


The Duwamish Tribe

Real Rent Duwamish 

 Let me know your thoughts. Let's have a conversation!




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