SUQUAMISH -- Centuries old artifacts traveled across Puget Sound from the University of Washington to the new Suquamish Museum Tuesday as orcas leaped and splashed. Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman saw it as a sign that the tribe was doing something good for its people.
The artifacts from the Old Man House site on the shores of Agate Pass were cared for by the Burke Museum since the 1950s and returned October 29 to the new Suquamish Museum, specially designed to keep and preserve ancient, cultural items.
Tribal members held a brief welcoming ceremony before carrying the approximately 500 items into the Museum. Forsman said Old Man House served as a meeting house for the region's tribes. It was built by well- known elders such as Chief Kitsap and Chief Seattle's father. Chief Seattle also lived in Old Man House, which the Suquamish called by a different name, "Place of Clear Salt Water."
One of the larger pieces is a piece of a house post, still bearing the marks of an adze. Suquamish Museum curator Lydia Sigo called having something carved long ago by Indian craftsmen "exciting."
Chairman Forsman, a research archaeologist by training, says even more, the artifacts teach young people to "be proud of who they are, proud to be Suquamish people" with a long and cherished history.
The Suquamish Museum is open every day from 11 to 5.