The central part of the facility will be the Longhouse consisting of traditional Salish design elements with cedar post and beam structure.
The main room in the Longhouse will be large enough to accommodate hundreds of visitors. Traditional longhouses had partitions that enabled residents to adjust spaces as needed. Our main room is designed with that flexibility in mind.
The revitalization of our culture is firmly tied to the revitalization of our language. Lushootseed vocabulary, phrases, expressions, dialogues are already working their way into the cultural events, ceremonies, potlatches and council meetings. A key factor in successful language teaching is the age of the student. The younger the students, the more apt they are to pick up the cognitive language skills to improve their fluency. Our young dancers are singing in Lushootseed, the language of Duwamish people.
The Greeting Area
Will welcome visitors from either the west or east entrances, large, carved cedar logs will be utilized for the post beam structure, which will be two stories high. A skylight above this area will bring in daylight and moonlight. To the east, visitors will be able to see the Duwamish River and site of two ancient villages: Ha-Ah’-poos (“Where there are Horse Clams”) and Tohl-ahl-too (“Herring House”).
As tribal members and visitors step inside the longhouse, they will enter a ceremonial Duwamish space.
When we enter the longhouse, we say our Indian names and speak the names of our ancestors. The first room visitors enter honors this practice incorporating Lushootseed and established Duwamish cultural protocol. To honor our ancestors and leaders, our welcoming space will also blend the past with the present by featuring the names and representations of our tribal leaders, an unbroken, stable lineage going back more than a century.
The Cultural Resource Center
Upstairs our center will display archeological materials from Duwamish Site #1. The treasures from this collection have not been thoroughly curated and interpreted by scholars since the initial archeological report in 1981, but they will have a new home at our Center.
The Burke Museum at the University of Washington has been holding our material culture in trust until we have a safe and secure place to display them. We are working closely with George F. MacDonald, Director of the Burke Museum, and Dr. James Nason, the museum's Curator of Pacific and American Ethnology on the design of our new facility. Then we can accept these sacred fragments of our past and make them available to our members, visiting scholars and researchers.
Dr. Kenneth Tollefson, professor emeritus of Anthropology, has devoted three decades of his life to documenting the history and living culture of Duwamish people. Our archive will house his professional life's work on the Duwamish, including photographs, interviews and field notes. Jay Miller, Ph.D., author of Lushootseed Culture and the Shamanic Odyssey among other books, specializes in linguistics and coastal Salish people. He will help oversee our acquisitions. Our Duwamish archives will be an essential resource for researchers, students and teachers seeking information about our language and the Seattle area prior to settlement. We will have Lushootseed CD-ROMs here for self-directed learners.
We expect the Resource Center will be a magnet for scholars where we gather together primary oral histories and archival recordings, videotapes and audiotapes recorded by Jon Lee Joseph, M.A., and B. J. Bullert, Ph.D. from their oral history projects. New research based on recent archeological data will likely unlock some of the mysteries of pre-contact Duwamish life, and generate more questions for researchers.
The Hearth of Our Home: The Tribal Kitchen
Food brings people together, and meals reinforce community. Traditional Duwamish meals are part of the revitalization of our culture and identity.
Our kitchen will be a commercial facility suitable for catering and cooking for large groups, but we will specialize in serving traditional Duwamish foods: salmon, herring, clams, duck, camas root, nuts, berries, wapato, and many other culinary delights. An outdoor salmon grill and picnic tables will provide a place for traditional food preparation and consumption. We intend to establish a line of smoked salmon for regional distribution and mail-order.
We intend to use our kitchen and cooking talents to create a revenue stream to support our facility and programs. We will offer visitors and tourists a cultural destination where they can taste our tradition through a full-course feast featuring a Potlatch menu, including roasted or stewed clams; smoked, boiled or fried salmon; roasted grouse, duck, or venison; mashed or boiled wapato, along with an array of traditional condiments such as preserved wild blackberries and cranberries.
Traditionally, Duwamish people have adapted to a changing environment, and the food served may reflect this by mixing traditional foods with contemporary ones, giving birth to a new Duwamish cuisine.