SEATTLE (AP) — Washington, Oregon, more than two dozen Native American and Alaska Native tribes and cultural groups from the Northwest are suing the federal government to stop the sale of the National Archives building in Seattle, a plan that would force the relocation of millions of invaluable historical records to California and Missouri.
The government is planning to sell the vast warehouse under a law aimed at unloading excess federal property, but the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Monday says the building is anything but “excess.” It contains irreplaceable documents dating to the 1840s and is used all the time for research about everything from tribal history to Japanese internment during World War II and fur seal hunts on remote Alaskan islands.
“This is the DNA of our region,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson told an online news conference Monday. “These are documents that are not digitized. Moving them a thousand miles away essentially and effectively eliminates public access to these critical documents.”