Just north of the Snohomish River near the town of Marysville, Washington, is the 22,000-acre Tulalip Indian Reservation. The Tulalip (pronounced as too-LAY-lip ) tribe’s predecessors and allied tribes signed the Treaty of Point Elliot with the US government in 1855. In exchange for the thousands of square miles of their land, the tribes received from the government a nominal sum of money and retained fishing and hunting rights, protection, and co-management authority over wildlife resources.
Today on this land–whose verdant trails still paint a romantic picture in my head of a spiritual people living a very eco-friendly existence along the river’s edge–visitors will find a thriving Tulalip Casino, nearby outlet mall, and local businesses that help support the community center, housing, after-school programs, and a host of other services to the growing tribe.
In August of 2011, the Hibulb Cultural Center opened its doors to educate the general public as well as the younger generations about a proud, waterborne culture that once thrived in this part of the country. I’m here on a Monday afternoon and have the whole place to myself.
At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian last year I learned about the tribes that dotted the Puget Sound. Cedar and salmon were the mainstays of their existence. There I also read about the longhouses (also built in Asia and Europe) and the closet architect in me wished to visit one. So it’s with great relish that I get to sit inside a longhouse replica built right into the Hibulb Cultural Center:
In my dream house I would like to have a cedar longhouse exactly like this one as my closet/sanctuary. I could sit here all afternoon and daydream…
But the road beckons and I’m off to another bittersweet if beautiful resting place in Seattle:
The serene Lake View cemetery is where I’ll leave you for now.
On to magic (and a little fashion) in the next entry!