5/7/2009--Snoqualmie, WA, USA..Ray Mullen, the Snoqualmie tribe's "drum bearer" and one of nine members of the democratically elected Tribal Council that runs the tribe, playing a flute more commonly played by Midwestern plains Indians outside the tribe's offices. As drum bearer, Mullen is responsible for learning traditional Snoqualmie songs and sharing them at tribal ceremonies whenever he is called to serve. ..The Snoqualmies--who once dominated Western Washington, controlling the all-important trade route through the Cascades to the sea-- wasn't even recognized by the federal government and had no reservation or land of its own. Their quest for government recognition took decades--years in which they pieced together enough evidence of cohesion to convince the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to recognize them as a "domestic sovereign nation" under federal law--a designation they had lost in 1952 (see sidebar). When they were finally granted this status in 1999, the tribe embarked on a quest to makes its dreams--a reservation that tribal members could call home, world-class health care for Snoqualmies and other Northwest natives, and access to as much education as any individual tribal members would want to pursue--come true...©2009 Stuart Isett. All rights reserved.