Quileute Nation Photo Policy

The Quileute Nation has a photo policy that’s now in effect. It doesn’t affect private citizens so much as it does businesses. What is comes down to more than anything else is just simple respect and common sense. In other words if you are visiting LaPush and taking photos for personal use of scenery, no problem. If you are fortunate enough to be there for a live performance (as with any live performance say in like a Broadway theater) see if photography/video is allowed before firing away. If you see something else that you want a photo of like someone’s private home, people at work on their fishing boats, kids playing (you get the idea) it would be polite to ask first. Lastly, (and we feel stupid saying this, but seemingly people don’t read signs) don’t take photos of clearly marked sacred ground that is marked no admittance!

The reason for the policy is simple. Sometimes photos and videos have ended up being used in not the most respectful of ways or have been mislabeled. For example, an MSN film crew photographed their burial ground (later taken down)which is considered sacred and private. Think about it this way, if you had just buried one of your relatives, would you want their resting place plastered all over the news? The other factor is that the Quileute people don’t want to be misrepresented by people who visit once and decide they know it all. In other words how would you like it if a film crew/author etc. came to your neighborhood and did a documentary and didn’t consult you.

In any case they have an Indian Country Etiquette guideline on their website to help visitors, and below the cut is a more detailed policy regarding filming and the artwork of the Quileute Nation that they consider proprietary in nature so that they have a say in how their nation and culture is represented to the public.
And while we are speaking of the Quileute Nation, why not support their tribe by stopping by their store.

The Quileute Nation of  Washington State Photography-Video-Sketching Policy

The modern Quileute Tribe is charged with preserving and protecting the culture, traditions, and natural
resources handed down from our ancestors and which we will in turn hand down to our children. As
stewards of our culture, traditions and natural resources, we make this Policy to ensure that the cultural
rights of all Quileute People-past, present and future– are protected.

The reason for this Policy is to prevent misappropriation and misrepresentation of Quileute tribal culture:
The Quileute Tribe, its People, and its traditions can and have been misrepresented when images and
sounds are taken and used without permission and understanding.

Only the Quileute Tribal Council can authorize the capture of images and sounds not intended
strictly for personal use.

It should be remembered that all artwork is copyrighted and should not be photographed,
sketched, or videotaped without the express permission of its creator and/or owner.

Although personal photography (whether by camera, cell phone, or other instrument) intended
strictly for personal use is generally allowed (exCept for dancing and singing performances), all
personal audio and videotaping are strictly prohibited.

Any dance and singing performances provided for public viewing are the cultural and intellectual
property of the tribes/groups/families performing. Capture of images and/or sounds by any
means of these cultural and intellectual properties is strictly prohibited unless otherwise
authorized by the Quileute Tribal Council.

All commercial photography, sketching or drawing, and video or audio taping are strictly
prohibited, except by express written permit of the Quileute Tribal Council.
Commercial filming, photography and audio-recording are not permitted without the Quileute Tribal
Council’s prior written consent. Crews/photographers will be accompanied by a tribal member and/or
tribal employee and hold a relevant pass.
All inquiries regarding commercial filming, photography, or audio-recording should be directed to Jackie
Jacobs of JTalentgroup at 206-388-9200 or jj@talentgroup.com.


  1. Thank you for posting this. It’s sad that such things have to be said. The Native American culture is based on respect so please respect them.

  2. ShannonP says:

    I agree. It does seem like a little common courtesy would go a long way to resolving this issue.

  3. I visited LaPush and the people there are very nice. The scenery is great! It’s a shame that people can’t just take it for what it is and enjoy, they have to exploit and ruin things.

  4. Noah Brighten says:

    The problem is most people have a “tourist” mentality. They see pretty sights. They want to take pictures for remembrance. I don’t see any difference between them taking pictures of Quilluete tribal lands vs. let’s say taking pictures of Monchu Pichu, Ankator, or anything in the Yukatan. I don’t see it as being sad. They don’t know different.

    The Quilluete tribe has embraced the fandom of the Twilight Saga. They’ve welcomed the craze and thus are now dealing with the consequences. The best way to win this battle is education, and I believe they are taking the right steps.

    Just remember folks, most Americans don’t have objections with people taking pictures of a graveyard. I know people who make portoflios with pictures of grave stones. Not everyone considers these specific sites as sacred, so unfortunately they aren’t going to consider another culture’s graveyard sacred either.

    It isn’t sad or unfortunately. they aren’t informed.

    As stated, education is key, to keeping sacred sites sacred. In short, most normal folks aren’t going to want to unravel the Ancients nor matter whom they be. They have to know the rules to respect them. 🙂

    • Rianilee says:

      You said it perfectly. I couldn’t have said it better myself. People need to understand that no one in their right mind would go to La Push and disrespectfully snap pictures, it’s simply a fact of people don’t know and understand the culture. Educate people is the only way.

      • I agree wih you Rianilee…The best way is to educate people about these things. I myself have been brought up with love and respect and therefore I treat others with the same love and respect, but not everyone can say the same. And I think that that is sad in itself…so its our responsibility to educate and help people to understand. After all…isnt that what Spirit wants from us…to be teachers amongst ourselves?!

  5. I agree. It does seem like a little common courtesy would go a long way to resolving this issue.

Leave a Comment