PUYALLUP RESERVATION, Tacoma, Wash. — Backdropped by an impressive red and black mural depicting one of the oldest forms of competition in North America, bone games, SeattleFWC26 and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians announced their Host City Supporters Agreement Tuesday afternoon for FIFA World Cup 26™. The Puyallup Tribe joins SeattleFWC26 as the Official Legacy Supporter for all Seattle 26 activities and activations. This marks the first time in the history of the international tournament that an indigenous people have entered into an agreement with any host city.
“Soccer is the international instrument to bring people together in a good way and for us to have a piece of that is really an honor,” said Puyallup Tribal Council Chairman Bill Sterud. “It is important that we are here, indigenous people. Whether it’s in Puyallup, throughout the state, throughout the country or through Central and South America, we are here, and we have a culture, and it’s important. We take care of our people, and we’d like to show that to the world.”
The Puyallup Tribe is a federally recognized sovereign nation of more than 5,000 members. The Puyallup People have lived along the shores of what is now called Puget Sound since time immemorial.
“Selecting a legacy partner was a top priority for us,” said Peter Tomozawa, SeattleFWC26’s CEO. “This is not just hosting a massive event that the state has never seen before, but an opportunity for us to build a better future for generations to come. In 1962, the World’s Fair came to Seattle and laid the ground work for Seattle to become the city of the future. In 2026, we want to leave behind a people-based legacy impacting our community, culture and children that will strengthen the foundation for the future of humanity, and I can think of no better cultural partner than the Puyallup Tribe of Indians.”
SeattleFWC26 CEO Peter Tomozawa and Puyallup Tribe of Indians Chairman Bill Sterud sign the Host City Supporter Agreement in Puyallup Tribal Council Chambers on May 31, 2023.
The Puyallup Tribe of Indians will work with SeattleFWC26 on several massive initiatives throughout the next several years. This will allow the tribe the opportunity to share their story, in their own voice, on the global stage. This aligns with SeattleFWC26’s vision that, while the World Cup is coming to Seattle in 2026, this tournament will bring Washington to the world and will find all ways possible to share the things that matter most to Washington residents.
Today’s announcement was held in front of the Emerald Queen Casino Bone Games mural as the traditional bone games have been part of the Puyallup Tribe’s rich culture since time immemorial. The game would be played for fun, used for ceremonial purposes and to settle arguments.
Puyallup Tribal Council Chairman Bill Sterud was present with the other elected members of the Tribe’s governing body: Vice Chairwoman Sylvia Miller and Council Members Annette Bryan, James Rideout, Anna Bean, Monica Miller and Fred Dillon. Heritage staff and students from Chief Leschi Schools performed ceremonial song and dance to commemorate the occasion while 16-year-old Cecilia Dillon preceded the announcement with a prayer in the Puyallup Tribe’s Lushootseed language. Chief Leschi Schools language teacher David Sway-la Duenas provided a translation of the prayer.
Host cities for the FIFA World Cup 26™ are the first to be able to engage with strategic partners in an effort to include local commercial sponsors in the tournament. SeattleFWC26 has created 10 specific involvement opportunities and look to bring on nine additional Host City Supporters.
About the Puyallup Tribe of Indians
The Puyallup People have lived along the shores of what is now called Puget Sound since time immemorial. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is a sovereign nation of more than 5,000 members and one of the largest employers in Pierce County. It serves its members and community with generosity and is committed to building a sustainable way of life for future generations. Learn more about the Puyallup Tribe.
About the SeattleFWC26
SeattleFWC26 is the local organizing committee for Seattle’s participation as one of the 16 host cities selected for FIFA World Cup 26™. As a not for profit organization, SeattleFWC26’s vision is to foster a lasting legacy for our region, guided by the spirit or soccer, innovation and inclusion. To keep up to date on the latest news and involvement opportunities with SeattleFWC26 please register at seattlefwc26.org/get-involved
About FIFA World Cup 26™
The FIFA World Cup 26™ will be the biggest sporting event ever – three Host Countries, 16 Host Cities, 48 teams, 104 matches uniting an entire continent to showcase a momentous new tournament format while keeping the exciting 4-team groups to ensure the ultimate football spectacle. With more countries, cities, teams and games, FIFA World Cup 26™ will unite the entire world on the biggest stage ever and will engage millions of fans across 16 stadiums and billions worldwide. The tournament will take place in June and July 2026. For the latest FIFA World Cup 26™ information please register via the FIFA Media Hub and visit the FIFA World Cup 26™ website.