Seattle – Native American Artists 3

When visiting, it’s important to know some basic Seattle history.

The Interior Salish tribes are the indigenous people of “Puget Sound” and the Duwamish are the First Community of all the land which encompasses Seattle and its metropolitan area, along with the islands to the west.

Amazingly, most Seattleites and other North Americans do not realize that these tribal people are still alive and are living in their midst, but that Duwamish tribe is suffering under hardships still imposed by the American Government.

Two museum exhibitions have been mounted to help give the Peoples more public visibility, and it is done so in the hope that other people, in Seattle and around the nation, will stand behind the tribes in support, as well as to acknowledge them.

Before the European immigrants completely destroyed their villages and way of life, the Coast Salish tribes and the Interior Salish tribes, especially, were gifted and peaceful Peoples.

The Salish tribes were renowned for their weaving of both cedar baskets and clothing as well as mountain goat fur blankets. Other blanket wools were fur from dogs specifically bred for their soft undercoats. This fiber was spun into yarn on spindle whorls, which were frequently carved with spiritually imagery significant to the weaver.

Spindle whorls’ figures are some of the most poignant and beautiful artifacts from this region, now.

When the wonderful carved cedar house posts from their 90 Longhouses were burned to the ground, by the European immigrants, a small number of household objects and mainly the spindle whorls became mini arks of the Duwamish tribe’s symbolism. It is from them that today’s carvers hope to resurrect their heritage.

The stories and legends of each tribe in this remarkable, peaceful and ancient culture have been passed down from generation to generation through ritualistic storytelling and dance, carving, weaving and by incorporating stories onto ceremonial and utilitarian objects, such as the spindle whorl.

You can read the first two parts of the series here:
Part 1 Seattle – Native American Artists and the Plight of the Chief Seattle’s Duwamish Tribe
Part 2 Seattle – Native American Artists

Native American Artists, Part 3

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