In the 1950’s, an Act of Congress, at the behest of the Eisenhower Administration, issued a resolution concerning lands belonging to American Indian Nations across the Country. The federal government concluded that vast areas of reservation lands had exceptional commercial value in oil, gas, water, uranium and other precious metals for it to be wasted on American Indians.
The end result of that Act was the removal of tens of thousands of America’s aboriginal people from their reservations under the ruse of assimilation them into America’s “melting pot.” American Indians were abruptly and systematically forced from their homes and literally “dumped” into cities across the nation and once there, they were abandoned.
Cut off from their families, their culture and traditions, they were forced to live in an alien society that was unprepared and unwilling to help them.
They came to the cities with nothing…no education, no training or job skills, no opportunities and no resources. They had nothing but a bleak future of relocation, illiteracy and degradation…a proud people whose secure future was again taken away only to be replaced with hopelessness and abject poverty.
In 1958, a small group of American Indian women came together, sharing their concerns over the living conditions their people faced. Out of these meetings the American Indian Women’s Service League was born.
The opening of the small, storefront office of AIWSL in Seattle’s Belltown district was the beginning of what would officially become the Seattle Indian Center in 1972. Over the years, our agency has had many homes, from the Belltown storefront to the church at Boren and Stewart streets in the 1960’s. Now in its permanent home at the Leschi Center since 1988, Seattle Indian Center staff annually provide over 108,000 units of service covering a wide range of vital human needs for over 22,000 people from all parts of the world.
These services are available to all people and provide assistance for every age group, from infants to the elderly.
Our philosophy is to provide an intensive wraparound case management approach to the needs of the community. Beyond just feeding people, we help advocate for children. We supply short term services in an emergency. We provide long term hope through employment search, and G.E.D. completion. If we are not able to provide services at the Seattle Indian Center, referrals are provided at no cost to our clients.
The Seattle Indian Center was forced to leave its’ Forever Home at the Leschi Center on July 15, 2014.
Since May 1988 the S.I.C. occupied 13,000 sq. ft. at the Leschi Center on the rim of Seattle’s International District. From this site for the past 25-years the S.I.C. provided much-needed services to the American Indian/Alaska Native community and all other people in need through its network of human service programs. The Leschi Center was to be the S.I.C.’s Forever Home; the seemingly endless odyssey of moving our programs every few years was finally over, once the S.I.C. established itself and its programs in one-third of the Leschi Center.
The S.I.C. is starting a capital campaign to purchase a facility without being encumbered by third parties. Our board of directors has forged ahead with plans for a permanent home —-a truly Forever Home! — for our American Indian/Alaska Native community.
In the meantime here is the new address for the Seattle Indian Center:
1265 S. Main Street, Ste. 105
Seattle, WA. 98144
Thank You to Our Sponsors
Our heartfelt thanks to the Puyallup Tribe of Indians for their generous donation in support of our upcoming facility move and continued programs and services!