Duwamish dedication, report #1: Longhouse open, fight not over

Back from a two-hour event with many amazing moments, as the Duwamish Tribe opened its new Longhouse and Cultural Center, on the eastern edge of West Seattle (4700 block of West Marginal Way; here’s a map), to the public – Duwamish chair Cecile Hansen and major donors Arlene and George Wade cut the ribbon, as this brief video clip shows:

(video no longer available due to blip.tv shutdown)

It is open until 4 pm today, so you are welcome to go visit for yourself. Much of the building is the high-ceilinged longhouse meeting space, but the Cultural Center displays are in a cozier space that opens from the door (which is on the west side of the building):

There’s a gift shop too:

The ceremony and presentations included so many emotional moments – reconciliation of the Natives with descendants of Seattle’s first white settlers – but also included news, with word of a performance series for which season tickets are now on sale at the gift shop, and a lawyer’s somber warning that the fight for formal federal recognition of the Duwamish Tribe remains an uphill battle, to say the least. Many more details to come in our later report, and more video of those moments.

7 Replies to "Duwamish dedication, report #1: Longhouse open, fight not over"

  • dapuffin January 3, 2009 (4:00 pm)

    I was there today, too. It was an amazing witnessing of history and I’m so happy to have been part of this day. (And wondering if I’ll show up in any of the crowd scene shots that get uploaded.)

    It was incredible to hear about and learn just how many individuals and entities have been working so hard and for so long to cause the longhouse to be a reality.

  • Kelly K January 3, 2009 (4:42 pm)

    We dropped by, too. The building was beautiful, but I think you could attribute that equally to both the warm atmosphere and the natural wood everywhere. There was storytelling, singing, and beautiful handmade crafts at the gift shop. I hope there will be regular community events there. I’ll be keeping my eyes out:


  • charlabob January 3, 2009 (5:50 pm)

    Perhaps a new administration will help with the quest for tribal status. Public pressure can’t hurt too :-)

  • Magpie January 3, 2009 (6:06 pm)

    I read that the Muckleshoots don’t want the Duwamish to become a recognized tribe for political reasons. I’m sure there are financial reasons, too.

    Hopefully, Obama will give them tribal status early in his administration and this time it will stick. I wasn’t able to get there today, but have seen the building..I’m glad that they were able to do this.

  • JanS January 3, 2009 (6:24 pm)

    I guess I just find it very sad that the Duwamish aren’t recognized as a tribe. After all, they were here, as in HERE, first….where the party landed at Alki. And then there’s the Duwamish River…named after what? a tribe that doesn’t exist? Oh, please. A friend and I were jokingly (sort of) talking about what will happen when they are finally recognized. Seattle could be the site of it’s first huge casino…along West Marginal…and imagine the impact something like that would have on the Duwamish people, on their economy, and by osmosis the employment and economy of Seattle. Yes, we were slightly joking aobut a local WS casino operated by the Duwamish, as there are so many other aspects to being recognized…but…hey, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea, would it?

    I hope to get to the longhouse soon…thanks for covering this, TR..

  • Tamsen Spengler January 3, 2009 (6:57 pm)

    My husbund and I attended the opening today and were very touched by the performances. The beating of the drums and the singing were very spiritual and you could see how much the songs meant to the performers. Very emotional moments. We’re so pleased they finally have their longhouse and will join them in fighting to become recognised as a tribe. It’s the least we can do!

  • Kara January 3, 2009 (8:24 pm)

    Cecile has been a family friend since forever. She even came as a guest speaker to my high school for a project I worked on. She is so strong and has never stopped fighting for her people. I am so happy to see a step in the right direction. Seattle is the Duwanmish…without them what would our city be.

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