SEATTLE – The Seattle Central Waterfront has undergone major changes over the last decade. The removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and replacement of the Elliott Bay Seawall made possible a major redevelopment that reconnected the waterfront to the city and created the opportunity to tell the story of the generations of Coast Salish People who inhabited that area for thousands of years before non-Indian settlement.
The Muckleshoot Tribe has worked closely with Seattle officials over the past decade to make sure our culture and history was woven into that redevelopment. Interpretative signs and kiosks with culturally appropriate content will be installed along the waterfront. The street that runs along the waterfront received the honorary name Dizdzilalich last month in a ceremony that included a blessing song by Muckleshoot singers and remarks by Tribal Council Vice Chair Donny Stevenson.
The Elliott Bay Seawall Memorandum of Agreement the tribe negotiated with the Seattle Department of Transportation in 2013 also required the city to provide rent-free space in a building along the central waterfront for Muckleshoot Cultural Center.
Today, ten years after signing that agreement, the city and tribe have agreed on a building for that Tribal Center. Located directly across the street from the Seattle Aquarium and the new Waterfront Park at Pier 48, the Bakun Building will house that important facility. Almost 7,000 square feet of space on the first and second floors will be dedicated to our new cultural center.
Although the Seattle Waterfront has always drawn thousands of visitors every year, the addition of super-sized Cruise Ships is now bringing many more thousands of people from all over the world to the waterfront. That means people from all over the world will learn about the Muckleshoot Tribe, our culture and history.
Over the next year work will be undertaken to make needed physical upgrades to the building, including elevator repairs, seismic upgrades, and cosmetic improvements. Space planning will get underway in the first quarter of 2024 and the Cultural Center will open in early 2025.
A community celebration will be held for the opening of that facility as we reclaim our rightful place on the Seattle Waterfront.
The Muckleshoot Messenger is a Tribal publication created by the Muckleshoot Office of Media Services. Tribal community members and Tribal employees are welcome to submit items to the newspaper such as news, calendar items, photos, poems, and artwork.