When ILCC provided financing in 2007 to the Snoqualmie Tribe to purchase 35 acres east of Seattle, the Tribe did not have sufficient cash flow to make a full loan payment. ILCC was able to provide the Tribe with enough funding to purchase the land, which nearly doubled the size of the reservation and included property for health care facilities, housing and commercial development. Ten years later, the Snoqualmie own some of the most successful Indian-operated businesses in the country. “ILCC provided us with a loan that allowed us to begin to secure additional aboriginal land in the Snoqualmie Valley, ahead of speculators, prior to the Tribe generating any casino revenue, and in a manner that was respectful of Tribal sovereignty,” said Matt Mattson, tribal administrator. “This is how financing in Indian Country should be done.”
The Snoqualmie, one of many tribes that make up the larger group of Coast Salish peoples, have lived in the Puget Sound area of Pacific Northwest for thousands of years. Snoqualmie Falls, now a popular tourist attraction, has always been at the center of the Tribe’s spiritual traditions. In 1855, along with other Coast Salish tribes, the Snoqualmie signed the Point Elliot Treaty, ceding its lands to the U.S. government with the promise that they would receive a reservation of their own. That promise, like so many others, was never kept.
In 1953, the Tribe suffered a major blow when it lost federal recognition due to a new policy that limited recognition to tribes that had reservations. Finding themselves both landless and without the resources to support their tribal members, the Snoqualmie began the process of rebuilding their land base. In 1999, after 46 years of petitioning, the Snoqualmie received re-recognition based on the evidence that they had maintained a continuous community from historical times to the present.