Fort Lawton Takeover: Project Overview

Full length documentary As Long As Rivers Run (1971). This documentary covers a period of conflict in the 1960s and 70s known as the Fish Wars. It explores the fight for Tribal fishing rights in Washington State between American Indians and state officials.

In March of 1970, American Indian activists and their allies stormed a military installation known as Fort Lawton in the Magnolia Neighborhood in Seattle, Washington in an attempt to occupy the fort grounds to raise awareness of the struggles that Indians in Seattle--known as "Urban Indians"--were enduring as result of neglect of the federal trust responsibility and discrimination based upon years of racial prejudice. The end result of this takeover would prove to be in the Indians favor. But what lasting impacts has this event had on Seattle? What has occurred in the aftermath of the takeover of Fort Lawton?

This website is a digital public history project that examines the aftermath of racial tensions in the City of Seattle and the results of the Fort Lawton Takeover as espoused by the media, expressed by scholars, and experienced by American Indians. "The Aftermath Exhibit" showcases a narrative history to highlight the underlying sentiments of the non-Indian population of Seattle and provides a narrative description of events and well-founded interpretation of the circumstances surrounding the Fort Lawton Takeover on how this event has shaped Seattle going into the twenty-first century.

This digital history project is aimed at reaching the younger generations of American Indians that now populate the urban areas of Western Washington to remind them of the struggles of the not-so-distant past that have transformed where they live. It is also aimed as telling this same history to the larger non-Indian public so as to impress upon them the legacy and continuing presence of Indigenous Peoples in urban areas and the impact we've had on local scales among our communities. Finally, this project is dedicated to my Grandma, Diana Joy Eneas, to commemorate the 50th year anniversary of the Fort Lawton Takeover and her participation in this event.

Project Overview