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Snoqualmie, Muckleshoot Tribes dispute development plans near falls

The Muckleshoot Tribe plans to build a large hotel and conference center, in addition to 175 homes, above Snoqualmie Falls.  Snoqualmie Tribal members have opposed the project for the last year, claiming it would be placed on burial grounds and is too close to the sacred falls themselves.  Monday, the city council debated minor amendments to the plans first approved in 2004.

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. -- Muckleshoot Tribe representatives reiterated their desire to build a large hotel and conference center, along with up to 175 homes, above Snoqualmie Falls.

At a Snoqualmie city council public hearing Monday to discuss minor amendments to the decade-old plans, the Muckleshoot said it purchased nearby property to "protect the falls from any potential owners or developers who didn't understand or appreciate the cultural importance of the Falls to the greater Tribal community."

The project, which dates back more than ten years, has been a source of contention for the Snoqualmie Tribe for more than a year. For them, the Falls are a sacred ground and source of their creation, and for any development to take place nearby would tarnish the land.

"What we're taught from the earliest moments of our lives," said Snoqualmie Tribe Chairman Carolyn Lubenau, "This place is where we were created from. We don't want any development there. We just don't."

Lubenau and the Snoqualmie have focused most of their anger on the project towards Snoqualmie City Hall, which it believes is ignoring their concerns.

Lubenau repeated a long-held belief Monday the Muckleshoot Tribe will not develop the land above the falls, because to them, it is sacred too.

"The last face-to-face we had...they had no plans to develop the area," said Lubenau.

However, the Muckleshoots said Monday they do plan to develop the property.

Both the Muckleshoots and the Snoqualmie bid for the Salish Lodge when it became available more than ten years ago. The Muckleshoots won, and ever since have looked towards expanding the property across SR 202.

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