Commissioners release statement regarding SITC constitutional amendment decision

(SKAGIT COUNTY)- On July 10, the Skagit County Board of Commissioners received notice that the United States Department of the Interior issued a decision regarding the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community’s (SITC) constitutional amendments.

The decision clarifies that approval of the constitutional amendments does not expand the boundaries of the SITC reservation to include March’s Point, and that approval of the constitutional amendments is not intended to expand SITC jurisdiction over off-reservation land, people or resources, other than tribal members engaged in hunting or fishing.

Since becoming aware of the constitutional amendments in late 2016, Skagit County, the City of Anacortes, the Samish Indian Nation, and many landowners, businesses, and residents in the March’s Point area have raised concerns regarding how the proposed constitutional amendments might affect them. Representatives from Skagit County recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with leadership from the U.S. Department of the Interior and advocate for clarification. The resulting decision resolves Skagit County’s concerns.

“We see this decision as a win-win for our community and our tribal partners,” said Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki. “It addresses Skagit County’s concerns, while at the same time respecting tribal sovereignty and the right of the tribes to govern themselves as they see fit.”