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Makah Tribe

The Makahs signed a treaty with Isaac Stevens at Neah Bay on Jan. 31 1855 establishing the Makah Reservation. It was enlarged by an executive order on Oct. 26, 1872 and Jan. 2 and Oct. 21, 1873. The Makahs economy came from hunting seal aboard white owned boats and at the end of the 1800's they owned their own boats and hired whites to work them. The allotted lands didn't come until 1907 when each Indian received 10 acres for farming.

The Reorganization Act was voted in by the Makahs in 1934. They received their constitution in 1936 and in 1937 they got a tribal council consisting of five Makah members. The land was reconverted into a tribal trust because the trust period had not expired and the tribe was afraid when it did expire the individual members would sell the land to whites. The tribe filed with the Indians Claims Commission (Docket 60) for $1 million compensation for lands ceded by them under the 1855 treaty. They also sought $10 million in damages for deprivation of fishing and hunting rights guaranteed under article 1 of treaty. On Aprile 15, 1959 the commission dismissed Docket 60-A. The Makahs appealed ruling to Court of Claims who affirmed commissions decision. When the tribe was awarded $29,734.60 on October 15, 1976 they contested it. On May 4 1977 a rehearing was granted. As a compromise to settle Docket 60-A Waadah and Tatoosh Islands were given back to them by the government.