The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe wants to stop development from encroaching on Snoqualmie Falls.

Share story

ON the recent anniversary of Snoqualmie Falls’ placement on the National Register of Historic Places, our tribe joined hundreds of concerned people to speak out against the irresponsible development of nearby sacred land.

The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe believes this majestic waterfall is for all people, for all time. The fact that so many people from all walks of life joined us to oppose development of this sacred site reflects that.

In honor of our ancestors and in honor of the generations yet to come, it is our responsibility to protect Snoqualmie Falls. Since time immemorial, the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe has gathered at the falls — the birthplace of creation — to pray, to celebrate, to grieve, to heal and to rest. We believe the mist from the falls carries prayers to the spirits of our ancestors.

My great-grandmother told me about how, when she was a child, the powerful thunder of the falls shook the earth around them. She told me of the peacefulness of the forests and open spaces around the falls. In the late 19th century, developers siphoned water away from the falls to generate a small amount of electrical power. They blasted the rocks, changed the flow of water, reduced the sacred mist and later built a hotel over what we have always considered sacred.

Carolyn Lubenau is chairwoman of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe.
Carolyn Lubenau is chairwoman of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

The forest lands that surround the falls are where our ancestors are buried. Today, the falls and the land around it are under threat.

This summer construction crews began uprooting trees and bulldozing the ancient burial grounds of our ancestors to build a traffic roundabout. Even the discovery of a prehistoric spearhead, believed to be between 4,500 and 9,000 years old, didn’t stop them.

As Snoqualmie City Mayor Matt Larson said, this controversial roundabout sets the stage for even more development. A sacred hillside just north of the falls — also ancient burial grounds of our people — is slated to eventually become another subdivision with nearly 200 homes.

We ask all people who have been touched by Snoqualmie Falls to help us stop these plans.

Over the years, the Snoqualmie Tribe has worked to protect Snoqualmie Falls from irresponsible development. Our tribe is not against development. In fact, we are proud to be a major employer in this region. But development on sacred land is irresponsible. We oppose the construction of the roundabout and the proposed housing development because we have a responsibility to protect our sacred land, clean water, forests and open spaces.

In the months ahead, the Snoqualmie Tribe will be working to educate people about the sacredness of Snoqualmie Falls and why development around the falls is irresponsible.

We invite you to come to visit Snoqualmie Falls and experience the power of this place, just as generations of our ancestors have done. We warmly welcome the 2 million people from all over the world who visit the falls every year.

We are confident you will agree this is a place worth protecting. And we invite you to join us in our efforts to save Snoqualmie Falls at facebook.com/savesnoqualmiefalls and savesnoqualmiefalls.org