What is a Muckleshoot Indian?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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The Muckleshoot Indian is found on the Muckleshoot Indian reservation in the Puget Sound area of the Northwest United States. The reservation is located south and east of the city of Seattle, Wash., on the banks of the White and Green rivers. The reservation consists of an area that is six square miles in circumference with about 20 miles of border.

The Muckleshoot Indian tribe descends from the region's original inhabitants, the Coast Salish people. The tribe has called the Puget Sound area home for thousands of years, since around the time the last glaciers disappeared from the Pacific Northwest. The rivers and streams of the Cascade Mountain range have served as a good home for the tribe.

The mainstay of the Muckleshoot Indian tribe has always been the salmon. The tribe learned how to smoke and preserve the salmon to provide food that would last throughout the year. This allowed the tribe to focus on other activities and not just concentrate on finding food. The salmon would prove to be helpful to the tribe in other ways as well. Fishing remains a top priority for the Muckleshoot Indian.


The Puget Sound area was home to a great salmon migration. The tribe would have many ceremonies focused around the salmon. Each year, the first spawning salmon was caught and ceremoniously eaten by the tribe. Upon being consumed, the salmon's skeleton was placed back into the river and pointed upstream. This was in hopes that its brother and sister salmon would follow its lead to the spawning grounds in the river.

The salmon smoking and preservation by the Muckleshoot Indian tribe turned out to be so good that salmon actually became a recognized currency of the tribe. Salmon was used year-round to trade and purchase other goods needed by the tribe. Neighboring Native American tribes became aware of the smoked fish and would often trade for it. The Muckleshoot Indian people enjoyed this prosperity as it fostered commerce.

The modern tribe has branched out beyond salmon fishing as a primary source of financial viability. The Muckleshoot Indians, taking advantage of encroaching suburban areas near the reservation by adding gaming and casinos into its business portfolio. This new revenue has created a varied business that has built up wealth that allows the Indian tribe to match the funding of other local governments in the area. This allows the Muckleshoot to create new ways of assisting its people.


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Post 2

This article's tone is dehumanizing. The Muckleshoot people are people. Beginning the article with "The Muckleshoot Indian is found on the Muckleshoot Indian reservation in the Puget Sound area of the Northwest United States," makes them sound like a *specimen* from some other species. Write carefully.

Post 1

The Muckleshoot Indians were wise to make use of the salmon population nearby. I know that salmon lay thousands of eggs at once, so this is a resource that will never be depleted.

I just wonder what their method of preservation and smoking involved. Did they share it with settlers, and is it used by Americans today? Is the smoked salmon that we buy in stores prepared using the methods of the Muckleshoot Indians?

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