Cecile Hanson, Chair person of the Duwamish Tribal Council and her dog, Quidee
The first people of this land we call Renton were the Duwamish Tribe. Known as "the people of the inside", they gave their name to the river nearby and helped the early settlers and founders of Seattle make the Elliot Bay basin and it's watershed rivers their home. Last year, the 600 member Duwamish built the first native longhouse on Puget Sound in 115 years and are helping to educate the local populace about their ongoing cause to be officially recognized as a tribe.
The Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center is right across the street from the mouth of the Duwamish River and is constructed of red and yellow cedar that still flavors the air. The building is traditional cedar post and beam and houses a little gift shop, conference room and longhouse. If you are looking for a cool place to hold a meeting, look no further. This place is lovely and available for bookings.
Native Master Weaver, Mary Lou Slaughter has her work on display in the longhouse and is the fourth generation great granddaughter of Chief Sealth. The small gallery/museum holds a few pieces of her work, reproductions of the photographer Edward Curtis' work and some signage explaining the Duwamish peoples' history.
The gift store at the entrance to the longhouse.
This is a view inside of the cedar longhouse itself.
Photo courtesy of Renton History Museum
This is the Duwamish Chief, Henry Moses in the year 1920. Henry was born in a longhouse located at what is now known as Renton High School. Henry was a star athlete, respected civic leader and the last hereditary chief of his tribe. I don't know about you, but that just doesn't seem all that long ago. I would have loved to have met this guy.
This is the face of a Duwamish tribal member today - Cheyenne Shelafoe. The kids dance and sing in their native tongue - Lushootshed, and a new generation embraces it's history while creating a new future.
The Duwamish Longhouse has a new director, Dave Haladay, who came to join the staff here just 6 weeks ago. If you are interested in pursuing more information or looking for a tour, contact him.
This article written a year ago from the magazine, Seattle Metropolitan, was really well written and informative.
Keep in mind that the Renton History Museum is offering a wonderful program for 3rd,4th and 5th graders on the Coast Salish Indians.
Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center 4705 W Marginal Way Southwest Seattle, WA 98106 (206) 431-1582