Category Archives: Weaving the promise of tomorrow

Weaving the promise of tomorrow

As the Duwamish Tribe is not recognized, they formed the non-profit organization, Duwamish Tribal Services, to provide cultural services to the Duwamish Tribal community. They work to create educational programs to engage the youth and keep their culture alive. In January 2009 the Duwamish Tribal Longhouse was completed and opened. The longhouse serves as the center for cultural education and events. Duwamish artifacts and art are on display in the longhouse museum. There is also language materials available to teach the Lushootseed language. Educational events are held regularly at the longhouse to teach not only the youth but all people about Duwamish culture. Some of the regular events include the Duwamish Brunch & Art Auction and the Duwamish Princess Angeline Native Tea Party. Classes are provided by Duwamish master basket weaver, Mary Lou Slaughter, on how to gather and prepare the traditional cedar material and weave it. Duwamish storytellers speak about the earth and the Duwamish relationship to it.

Most important for the Duwamish youth is the Duwamish heritage cultural group, T’ilibshudub meaning “Singing Feet”. This group was created to teach the Duwamish youth about their history and cultural traditions and values. Members of the group learn from the elders and artists and are taught the Lushootseed language, dances, songs, and ceremonial practices. In turn, the group performs and teaches other youth and the community the Duwamish culture and traditions. This program expands cultural beliefs and knowledge and encourages the youth to be active participants in their cultural community. Groups like the “Singing Feet” bring youth together and provides cultural identity and a sense of pride which in turn helps keep youth educated and discourages drug and alcohol use.