One sunny day this past September, something wonderful happened. Like watching a birth, I became a witness to the opening of the new Suquamish Museum. Documentary film maker, Katie Jennings and I, were fortunate to attend a special dedication for this beautiful new museum. How nice that “Crow” made a special appearance as we met for tea before this event.
Last spring, Katie and I were witnesses, as Suquamish Elders put on hard-hats and dug into the fresh earth of this site, with their spray-painted-gold-shovels. Now look what has been created by the vision, the dreams, and hard work of so many.
This quilt was given as a gift to the Suquamish Tribe from the City of Poulsbo, honoring a long relationship with each other. The quilt was commissioned to tell the story of this relationship.
Surrounded by native plants, this building is remenisent of the traditional Salish Long-Houses.
This place is filled with teachings and stories, past, present, and future.
It is a place for the next generation to learn about themselves. The passing of knowledge and values, generation to generation, is the core of Suquamish culture.
The art and artifacts are carefully chosen, each with a purpose for teaching.
Suquamish members have worked tirelessly for many years to create this space for displaying collections such as the Salish baskets collected by the late Martha George. As a basket maker herself, along with being a prominent Kitsap County business-women, she supported other basket weavers by buying their baskets. Thankfully, the family has been able to conserve this collection, and many of these baskets are on display, as teachers. Greg George and his family are understandably happy for this day.
Ed Carriere’s largest basket made so far is a fishing weir, and is part of the museum’s permanent collection, displayed above. Typically, it would be pulled between two canoes. See prior blog entry for more information. https://www.melindawest.com/ed-carriere-weaves-a-traditional-fishing-weir/
Salish cultures are known as a weaving cultures. This spindle whorl created by Barbara Santos, represents the importance of the traditional arts of spinning, weaving and carving to the Suquamish.
After receiving a beautifully prepared lunch of smoked salmon, roasted potatoes, salad, and huckleberry crisp; and enjoying it in the company of Katie Jennings, documentary filmmaker; Ed Carriere, master weaver and carver; and Karen James, anthropologist; I was floating on a cloud. Among many academic contributions, Karen James was a contributor to the documentary film produced by Katie Jennings titled: TEACHINGS OF THE TREE PEOPLE, which features the life and work of the late Skokomish elder, Bruce Miller. Katie has since produced a film that documents Ed Carriere creating a traditional clam basket titled: CLAM BASKET, A STORY BY ED CARRIERE. Both DVD’s are available at the Suquamish Museum Store.
How grateful I am for this day, the good company, and for the Suquamish Museum which is a creation of beauty, energy, and learning for all who live in our community.
I hope you will come visit and see for yourself.