Boundary Map Detail

This map was sent to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Ely Parker, by the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Washington Territory, T. J. McKenny, with an April 11, 1871 letter.

In his letter, McKenny wrote that several maps depicting the Swinomish Reservation had been furnished by the Surveyor General’s Office, the Land Office and the Indian Office, including “the original map made by [Governor Isaac] I. Stevens[,] the party who negotiated the treaty with the Indians.” McKenny wrote that he was enclosing with his letter a “map of the reservation as it appears on the Stevens map[,] a copy of which was filed in the [Indian] office at Washington at the time the treaty was made and which has so appeared in all the reports of the Surveyor [Generals] for many years past.” The map clearly shows that March Point was within the reservation, with the boundary dividing the reservation from the remainder of Fidalgo Island running due north from Similk Bay to Fidalgo Bay. McKenny added the following handwritten note on the map (which is cut off on the image produced here):

Olympia W.T. March 10th 1871
I certify that the Swinimish [sic] Reservation as shown by this map is correctly given according to my understanding from reading the treaty, it being so shown and laid down on all the maps in the Surveyor Generals Office, Land Office and Commissioner of Indian Affairs Office.

T. J. McKenny Supt. Indian Affrs W.T.


Another handwritten note on the map states that, despite the evidence of Stevens’ intent, a judge had drawn the northern boundary of the reservation from Similk Bay due east, but that boundary is not reflected in any other map or document, and was not the basis for the Executive Order boundary.

McKenny’s successor as Superintendent of Indian Affairs, R. H. Milroy, confirmed that the boundary line running from Similk Bay due north to Fidalgo Bay on McKenny’s map accurately reflected Stevens’ map and the understanding of the Indians as to the boundary of the reservation.

Milroy added that “[t]he western boundary of the reservation according to this apparent understanding of Gov. Stevens and of the Indians, would be about the section line, across the isthmus, between sections 4 & 5 – 8 & 9 in T. 34 N. R.2.E. from where said line intersects the waters of Sim-ilk Bay on the South to where it intersects the waters of Fidalgo Bay on the north – the eastern shores of Fidalgo Bay, Similk Bay and of the Sound on the west shore of said Eastern division.”  This boundary line clearly places March Point within the Swinomish Reservation.


Maps: Present day and historical view of Swinomish Reservation treaty boundary.

Boundary Map Detail


Stephen LeCuyer
(360) 466.1058