In 2006, the Suquamish Tribe and Suquamish Foundation launched an ambitious initiative to create a network of culturally significant buildings and resources on the Port Madison Indian Reservation. Funded through a mix of donations, grants and Tribal funds, 6 capital projects were completed under the campaign.
Located on the corner of Suquamish Way and Division Streets in the heart of Suquamish Village, Suquamish Museum sits across from the Suquamish Administrative Center, set amidst a wide variety of native plants and habitats. The $7.5 million 9,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility was designed by Mithun, a Seattle based architectural firm.
The Mithun design follows the traditional aesthetic architecture of Coast Salish peoples. The use of Cedar log construction and siding at the west end of the building links a beautiful forest environment, while the interior design offers details in wood, glass and metal. The lobby and west end corner floor to ceiling windows allow the feel of being in nature while comfortably indoors. Adzed cedar planks, used as decorative features for built-in furniture components, coupled with cedar plank siding in the lobby and in the Leota Anthony Museum Store, add to the natural feel.
The floor of the exhibition galleries is an end-cut wood installation that continues to frame the experience with natural tones. Every room is warm and rich in texture, coupled with inviting colors beckoning visitors to relax, learn, and spend some time getting to know the Suquamish people. In addition to creating a natural ambiance, the museum is designated as a Silver LEED project.
The Marion Forsman-Boushie Suquamish Early Learning Center opened its doors in May 15, 2007. The new building is a 12,000 square foot space on the Tribe’s 20-acre education campus. The facility provides culturally appropriate child care, Early Head Start and Head Start, and parent/caregiver involvement programs.
All classrooms feature height-appropriate and safety conscious facilities. The classrooms for school-aged children include computers. It also features four age-appropriate outdoor play areas, with a traditional community house, amphitheater and carved canoe for cultural education activities.
The Center features a large multi-purpose room to host parent meetings, classes, and cultural programs and to serve as an indoor playground on rainy days. The Center has a commercial kitchen equipped to prepare two snacks and a lunch daily and other meals as necessary. The Center’s administrative areas are designed to accommodate the expansion of the teaching staff to meet increased enrollment.
The new facility increased the number of children we can serve substantially: 300% for child care and 40% for Early Head Start, while maintaining the number of Head Start participants.
Suquamish elders remember when visitors and trades people were welcomed at the old Mosquito Fleet Ferry Dock in downtown Suquamish. In the 1930s, a community dock took the place of the pier, but it deteriorated and was deemed unusable.
The Tribe removed the old dock and restored this historical water access by building a new community dock, available to all, for recreation and to promote economic development and tourism. The new dock also has an important cultural function, making participation in canoe outings accessible to elderly and disabled tribal members.
The new public dock has restored the Tribe’s historical access and the town’s connection to the water.
The 13,169 square foot House of Awakened Culture features traditional-style architecture and materials, such as eight house posts carved in the Coastal Salish style and cedar siding. Like Old Man House, it is located on the waterfront in Suquamish.
The house has a 6,000 square foot auditorium with perimeter bench seating for 600 seated guests, and a central, wooden floor area specifically created for the traditional song and dance. The central area will allow traditional table seating for 300 guests. The facility also includes a commercial kitchen and a 1,000 square foot reception area with accessible public bathrooms.
House of Awakened Culture and its adjoining outdoor area is used for a wide variety of community-building programs that teach and celebrate our living culture. Community members participate in Lushootseed language classes, traditional weaving and carving, Youth Canoe Journey training, regalia making, and song and dance practice in the house.
In addition, the Tribe, its guests and others use the Community House as a location for traditional ceremonies and modern celebrations that mark life’s milestones, such as honoring, graduations, family reunions, weddings and funerals.
The sgwәdzadad qәł ?altxw (House of Awakened Culutre) was the center of the 2009 Tribal Canoe Journey Hosting. The Tribe hosted more than 10,000 people from all over the Pacific Northwest, Canada and Alaska.
Chief Seattle, the legendary leader of the Suquamish Tribe, is internationally respected. His ideas remain significant today through their global influence on ethics, spirituality, and environmentalism. To promote Tribal and community knowledge of Chief Seattle and to honor him appropriately, the Tribe made improvements to the graveside monument of the famous leader, replacing the aging wood structures with new story poles, seating and interpretative kiosks at the cemetery entrance. A ceremony dedicating the new improvements was held on June 6, 2011.
From the late 1800s through 1962, a Community Baseball Field near the current site of the House of Awakened Culture, was a hub of activity. It supported baseball, softball and other community activities. In 1965, the Tribe made the difficult decision to lease the land where it stood in order to fund critical health services for tribal members.
Despite the lack of a field, community members continued to be active in softball programs throughout the northwest, winning a national title in 1984. In 2007, the Suquamish Tribe constructed a full-sized ball field for all ages. The facility, located near the Marion Forsman-Boushie Early Learning Center and the Fitness & Youth Centers on Totten Road, is available for use by the Tribe and surrounding North Kitsap communities.