Suquamish Tribe Acquires Suquamish Village Square: Seeks to Diversify Economic Base and Attract Businesses on Port Madison Indian Reservation

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The Suquamish Tribe purchased Suquamish Village Square from the Solheim Family Trust in August 2003 and is presently managing the property for its retail tenants. The Suquamish Tribe purchased the property to diversify their economic base, to reacquire more of their original reservation land base, and provide additional retail and office space for the local community.

The Suquamish Village Square purchase is part of an ongoing tribal government effort to diversify their economic base and decrease reliance on gaming as the primary source of tribal revenue. The purchase is also another step in the Suquamish Tribal Council’s efforts to reacquire reservation lands that have gone out of Indian ownership.

The Suquamish Tribe plans to manage the Suquamish Village Square property in a professional manner and will be negotiating new leases with current tenants. The Tribe is also seeking new tenants to fill vacant retail and office space. “The Suquamish Tribe seeks to expand business opportunities for tribal and non-tribal people of Suquamish and the North Kitsap area by professionally managing Suquamish Village Square” says Wayne George, Executive Director of the Suquamish Tribe. “We hope that through training programs offered by the Tribe we can expand the number of tribal member owned businesses on the Port Madison Indian Reservation,” states Chuck Deam, Economic Development Director, Suquamish Tribe. Port Madison Enterprises, the tribally chartered enterprise that oversees the Clearwater Casino and the Masi Shop, has acquired the Texaco gas station and mini-mart at Suquamish Village Square. Port Madison Enterprises will be expanding the mini-mart to provide additional floor space for product expansion.

The late Karsten Solheim built Suquamish Village Square in 1988. Solheim was the founder of Ping, Incorporated; the Phoenix based golf club manufacturer. Solheim built Suquamish Village Square as an investment in the town of Suquamish, where he and his wife were married in 1936. The Suquamish Tribal Council was interested in acquiring the property immediately after it was put up for sale in 2000.

The Suquamish Village Square purchase is part of a tribal effort to regain land on the reservation. Nearly two-thirds of the reservation went out of tribal hands as a result of federal Indian land policies that encouraged the sale of Indian lands beginning in the early 1900s. The Suquamish Village Square property is within the George Ewye Allotment, a 160-acre parcel that was assigned to the Ewye Family in 1886 under the Treaty of Point Elliott. The Ewye Family are the ancestors of the present Lawrence family that still own and live on portions of the original allotment.

The Suquamish Tribe purchased Suquamish Village Square as an investment in their community, as part of their policy of reacquiring reservation land, and continuing their mission of providing jobs and economic opportunities for their members and other residents of the Port Madison Indian Reservation.

For additional information contact: Wayne George, Executive Director, 360-394-8400.

For additional information on leasing space at Suquamish Village Square call Wayne George, Executive Director, Suquamish Tribe, 360-394-8400, or Vikki Chandler, Finance Officer, 360-394-8427.

The Suquamish Tribe, best known for its former leaders Chief Seattle and Chief Kitsap, is an 800-member tribe located on the Port Madison Indian Reservation in Suquamish, Kitsap County, Washington. The Suquamish Tribe is governed by the seven-member Suquamish Tribal Council, which is elected by the General Council each March. Most of the Suquamish Tribe resides on the Port Madison Indian Reservation that includes the communities of Suquamish and Indianola. The Port Madison Indian Reservation was established under the Treaty of Point Elliott negotiated with the United States in 1855.

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Leonard Forsman