Olympia Food Co-op members propose giving organization's land back to Squaxin Tribe


At the Thursday, May 16th Olympia Food Co-op board meeting, I, as a member and former board member submitted a proposal calling on OFC to give the land they own at 905 & 921 Rogers St. NW and 3111 Pacific Ave. SE back to the Squaxin Island Tribe. The board has agreed to include the proposal on their June 20 meeting agenda. There will be a petition available for community as well as co-op members to sign in support of this land reparations proposal.

The proposal was made in keeping with OFCs history of diversity, equality and inclusion, and their desire to decolonize language and correct past injustices. See the text of the proposal below. 

For further information please contact me at

          ~ Trudy Springer, Olympia

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Proposal for Land Repatriation and Rental Agreement with the Squaxin Tribe


As a food co-op committed to social justice and ethical practices, we recognize the importance of addressing historical injustices and supporting indigenous communities. In alignment with these values, we propose both the repatriation of land owned by our co-op at 905 and 921 Rogers Street NW and 1311 Pacific Avenue SE to the Squaxin Tribe and the establishment of a rental agreement for land from the Tribe, acknowledging their rightful stewardship and sovereignty over the territory.


Background: The Squaxin Tribe, like many indigenous communities, has experienced dispossession of ancestral lands through colonization and government policies. This loss of land has had profound social, cultural, and economic impacts on the tribe and its members.  By returning land to the Squaxin Tribe and establishing a rental agreement, we aim to contribute to reconciliation efforts, support indigenous self-determination, and foster ongoing collaboration between our co-op and the Tribe.



Land Repatriation:  Conduct a thorough inventory of the land owned by our food co-op to identify parcels suitable for repatriation.  Prioritize land that holds cultural significance to the Squaxin Tribe or aligns with their community development goals.  Initiate dialogue with representatives of the Squaxin Tribe to discuss the proposal and seek their input on the repatriation process.  Engage in transparent and respectful negotiations to determine the terms of the land transfer, including legal arrangements, timelines, and any associated considerations.  Work closely with legal experts to navigate the legal requirements and procedures for transferring ownership of the identified land to the Squaxin Tribe.  Ensure all administrative tasks, such as title transfers and documentation, are completed in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.  Communicate openly with our co-op members and stakeholders about the decision to repatriate land to the Squaxin Tribe, highlighting the rationale and ethical considerations behind the initiative.


Rental Agreement: Simultaneously propose a rental agreement with the Squaxin Tribe for land that our co-op wishes to continue using for its operations.  Offer to pay a nominal fee in perpetuity to the Squaxin Tribe for the rental of the land, recognizing their sovereignty and rights as the original stewards of the territory. Establish clear terms and conditions for the rental agreement, including the duration, payment schedule, and any additional provisions for collaboration or mutual benefit.  Ensure that the rental agreement respects the Squaxin Tribe's cultural practices, land management priorities, and community needs.


The combined approach of land repatriation and establishing a rental agreement with the Squaxin Tribe demonstrates our commitment to justice, reconciliation, and collaboration with indigenous peoples. By taking these actions, our food co-op reaffirms its dedication to social responsibility, ethical stewardship, and the promotion of indigenous rights and sovereignty.  We urge our members and stakeholders to support this comprehensive proposal in the spirit of building stronger, more equitable relationships with indigenous communities.


Additionally a Squaxin tribal member be the tribal representative on the board just as there is a staff member as a collective representative to the board.


12 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • hptrillium

    Sounds like a good plan unless the property taxes would be a burden for the Squaxin tribe.

    Saturday, May 18 Report this

  • Cobbnaustic

    Sounds like we're gonna have a new smoke shop.....LOL

    Saturday, May 18 Report this


    Sounds good to me, but I'd like to see the coop board lead by example and give up the deed to their own homes to the Squaxin tribe first. If the Squaxin tribe was wise, they should accept the offer from the COOP and immediately sell the properties for a huge profit.

    Saturday, May 18 Report this

  • Snevets

    @cobbnaustic you just had to do it didn't you?! Unreal.

    Thank you Oly Co-op for this wise plan, as a member I agree with it.

    Saturday, May 18 Report this

  • DeaneTR

    It's kind of weird that they do this without the tribe's involvement... Has anyone got feedback from the tribe? Why didn't the writer of the story get a quote from the tribe? Lack of tribal consultation is a huge issue so often and in many cases is required by law. And as nice of a gesture as this is, it's odd that the voices of the tribe aren't being represented yet. Just more white people stuff...

    Saturday, May 18 Report this

  • LittleMoose

    If this was about respecting Native rights and correcting injustice they would offer the Tribe market rent. But this is all about white liberals virtue signaling to each other, not about righting any wrongs. Oh yeah, you push the tax bill onto the Tribe until the land is put in trust. Mighty white of you.

    Saturday, May 18 Report this

  • TrudyS

    To answer some questions raised here, the Squaxin Island Tribe has been informed and they are interested in pursuing this. The Squaxin Island Tribe is a sovereign nation and not subject to taxes. Please use the email address in the article to ask any questions you have. Thank you. Trudy Soringer

    Saturday, May 18 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    Comments from some Community Members borders on racism here.

    And is Certainly Disrespectful

    Sunday, May 19 Report this

  • KentReister

    Thanks TrudyS


    Monday, May 20 Report this

  • OffWhite

    Why Squaxin and not Nisqually? Lot of tribal people used Olympia as a shared resource.

    Monday, May 20 Report this

  • GinnyAnn

    I respect this gesture. I know that the rental agreement between the co-op and the tribe would have to be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) once the land repatriation deal has been settled. The BIA would ensure that the co-op pays market rent and that the contract is fully legal and fair to both parties. The BIA would also administer the rental payments, so everything is above board. If the deal goes through, everybody wins and there will be clear oversight. If anyone is worried about the tribe taking advantage of the co-op, rest assured that there won't be a chance of rent being too high or the contract being harsh if the BIA is involved.

    Tuesday, May 21 Report this

  • MikePelly

    Sounds great! can we make a pact and get Safeway, Albertsons, Stormans, Trader Joes, . . . go along with this too?

    Wednesday, May 22 Report this