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Snoqualmie Tribe celebrates new headquarters

On Monday, May 15, Jennifer Dunn, former Republican congresswoman of Washington state, made a special visit to the Snoqualmie Tribe's new office in Snoqualmie for an open-house celebration.

"I love what they're doing," Dunn said about why she was in attendance. "I just love Snoqualmie. The fact that the Tribe is here makes so much sense."

Also in attendance were members of the Tribe and tribal representatives including tribal chairman Bill Sweet, Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Schaffer, nearby business owners and current Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, as well as former Snoqualmie Mayor Randy "Fuzzy" Fletcher, who now works as the Tribe's director of emergency management and on government-to-government relationships.

The chamber of commerce hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the Tribe's Snoqualmie location, as the Tribe's North Bend clinic is a member of the chamber. While the Tribe's social services will still operate out of the Carnation location, the new building will house all administrative work.

"It's all about building partnerships with the community," Schaffer said about the new Tribe presence in Snoqualmie.

Tribal administrator Matt Mattson said that by having the facility in the city of its namesake, the Tribe will have a presence that speaks to the community.

"It says, the Tribe is permanent," he added.

The Tribe lost its federal recognition in 1953 and had its status reinstated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1999.

"I am very pleased to have the Tribe in town," Larson said. "It will help keep the lines of communication running smoothly."

Community health representative and Tribe member Elsie Erickson said she was at the open house to show her support for the new facility, as were at least a dozen other members of the Tribe.

In addition to the ribbon cutting, there was food and performances of traditional drumming and songs for attendees.

In March of this year, the Tribe received approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to begin development of a casino. Groundbreaking on the site, located off Interstate 90 at Exit 27, is expected to take place this summer and the casino should be completed by fall of 2007. The casino will employee 700-800 people.

The Tribe's Snoqualmie administrative office is located at 8130 Falls Ave. S.E.

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