David Rosen
Native American storyteller Roger Fernandes of the Lower Elwha S’klallam Tribe was on hand to tell stories and present a concert at the 5th Anniversary of the construction of the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse at 4705 W. Marginal Way.

Duwamish Longhouse celebrated its 5th Anniversary Jan. 25

The Duwamish Tribe celebrated its 5th Anniversary of the building of the first Duwamish Longhouse since the last one was burned down in West Seattle in 1894 for the purpose of pushing the Duwamish off their land according to the tribe. The Longhouse is located at 4705 W. Marginal Way S.W.

The event featured a reception, and concert by Master Salish Artist Roger Fernandes.

In 1851, there were over 90 Duwamish Longhouses. All were removed or destroyed leaving the Duwamish tribe member no gathering place. Cecile Hanson, descendant of Chief Sealth explained what the anniversary means and how the longhouse came to be built.

"We signed a treaty which is a bogus treaty since we're not recognized by the federal government. That is wrong. But, George and Arlene Wade approached me, and she was crying because we had no land, so George said, 'Cecile what do you think about me seeing if we could go find some property? I thought, 'OK, George we had tried it twice and never got anything. Once in Renton and once in Fort Dent. So George not only found this property he put the first $10,000 down, then we were on the move. We raised the money and paid off the land. Then we began to try to build a longhouse. We did that too, and wonderful people from Paul Allen to Bill Gates and a lot of deep pocket people who cared helped us build it, and it's all paid for. It's wonderful and I give credit to all these people who were good enough to help us build the longhouse or else we'd be here in a little shack under the Spokane Street Bridge."

Opened in 2009, the Longhouse is a traditional cedar post and beam structure designed in the Puget Salish Longhouse style. It houses a Native Art Gallery, Duwamish History Museum, Gift Shop, Duwamish Tribal Offices, and traditional Longhouse. As in ancient times, Longhouse is the site where tribal business is conducted and cultural & educational events are held.

In addition, the Duwamish Tribe shares its Longhouse with the public to reinforce its cultural and social traditions. Monthly special events as well as ongoing workshops, demonstrations and lectures are available to the public. School tours provide children with an introduction to the Duwamish Tribe and Salish People.

The Duwamish Longhouse is also an important regional resource for tribal members, researchers, teachers and students interested in Duwamish history and culture. Historic photographs and associated material collected by historians and researchers will also be available. Lushootseed language materials on CDs, tapes, and videos have been researched and compiled by tribal elder, Vi Hilbert. Select pieces from the adjacent ancient villages, on loan from the Burke Museum, MOHAI, and the Port of Seattle are also displayed in secure, humidity controlled display cases with bilingual signage and interpretation.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.