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As members of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe (SBIT), the struggles we face on our coastal
reservation are deeply personal and ever-present. The looming threat of rising seas, flooding, and
erosion constantly reminds us of the fragility of our ancestral lands. With each passing day, the
urgency to relocate our community to safer, higher ground becomes increasingly urgent, as the
landscape we once knew disappears before our eyes.
In response to these pressing challenges, our Community Development and Planning team
took proactive steps to initiate a collaborative effort aimed at addressing our relocation needs.
Partnering with Main Street America and the United States Department of Transportation's
Thriving Communities Program, we organized a comprehensive three-day Partnership Gathering.
It was an opportunity for over forty-five representatives from various Federal, State, Regional and
local departments, as well as Non-Profit organizations, to come together and confront our shared
struggles head-on.
During the gathering, we embarked on tours of our reservation, witnessing firsthand the impact of
environmental degradation on our community. We saw our Tribal homes and businesses teetering
on the brink of destruction and presented the uphill land we acquired for relocation, a beacon of
hope for our future. These experiences strengthened resolve and underscored the urgency of our
collective mission.
Throughout the workshops, we engaged in intense brainstorming sessions and strategic planning
discussions. Together with our partners, we explored innovative solutions and forged powerful
alliances. We can proudly state that our partners signaled their commitment to supporting us in
our relocation efforts.
As the Partnership Gathering came to a close, the sense of solidarity among us was palpable.
We left with strengthened relationships and a renewed sense of purpose. The commitments of
technical assistance, resources, and support from our partners provided reassurance that we are
not alone in this journey.
As we move forward, we do so with a deepened sense of determination and the knowledge that
together, we can overcome the challenges that lie ahead. The seeds of collaboration planted during
those transformative three days will guide us towards a brighter, more resilient future for our Tribe
and generations to come.
The Community Development and Planning team would like to offer their sincerest thank you to
Willapa Bay Enterprises, the Youth volunteers, the Casino, Shoalwater Seafood, the SBIT Directors,
SBIT employees who helped put it all together, the SBIT Council and our partners for the success
of the 3 Day Partnership Gathering. Without all of us working together, it would not have been as
wonderful as it was.