Heritage Sites

Heritage Sites

Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center
Discovery Park, 3801 W Government Way, 206.285.4425
Daybreak Star is located in Discovery Park, in the Magnolia neighborhood. The Indian Cultural Center was established after a long occupation of the land, part of a former military base, by Native American activists in 1970. Activist leader Bernie Whitebear served as founding director of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, which runs a gallery and numerous social and cultural programs at the center, serving the local and regional Indian community. www.unitedindians.com

Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center
Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center

Discovery Park is also the location of the West Point archaeological site, a Native American site that was used for more than 4,000 years for fishing, clamming, and food processing. The West Point site was identified during construction of a water treatment plant in Discovery Park; artifacts from the collection are housed at the Burke Museum.

Ivar's Salmon House & Waterway 15
401 NE Northlake Way, 206.632.0767
Ivar's Salmon House is a cedar replica of a Northwest Coast Indian longhouse located on the north side of Lake Union. Traditional and contemporary Native American artwork and historic photographs are on display in the lobby. A 16' welcome pole by chief carver David R. Boxley welcomes visitors. On the west side of the building is Waterway 15, a "pocket park" and public shoreline access point where public art highlights the area's Native heritage. www.ivars.com
Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop
This 6.2 mile footpath and bike path circles Seattle's urban lake, passing houseboats, historic neighborhoods and numerous parks large and small. The trail is named in honor of Duwamish tribal leader John Cheshiahud who lived nearby on Portage Bay until the early 20th century. www.seattle.gov/parks/LakeUnionLoop

Chief Seattle Statue
Tilikum Place: Intersection of Fifth Avenue, Denny Way and Cedar Street
A life-size cast bronze statue of the Indian Chief for whom Seattle is named graces this historic intersection near Seattle Center. Designed by sculptor James Wehn in 1907, the statue is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Chief's right arm is raised in greeting, a pose remembered as characteristic of the tribal leader who signed a treaty in 1855 on behalf of the Duwamish and Suquamish people.

Seattle University Vi Hilbert Ethnobotanical Garden
James Street, between Broadway and 12th Avenue
In the First Hill neighborhood, a native plant garden was created on the campus of Seattle University to honor Upper Skagit elder Vi Hilbert (1918-2008), who dedicated her life to preserving and teaching the Lushootseed language. With interpretive information in both English and Lushootseed, the language of the Puget Sound Salish people, this ethnobotanical garden features native plants which provide traditional cultural foods, medicines, and materials for tools, artwork and buildings. www.seattleu.edu/artsci/ethnobotanical

Pioneer Square
First Avenue and Yesler Way
Pioneer Square, Seattle's oldest neighborhood, contains many layers of Native American heritage. Two Indian villages were once located in the vicinity, and the Lushootseed, or Puget Sound Salish, name for the area translates as "a little place where one crosses over."

As the settlement of Seattle grew, Pioneer Square remained the city's historic core. The tall stately totem pole in the center of the cobblestone Pioneer Place park seems to be a fitting tribute to Native heritage, although the original totem pole that graced the park was actually stolen from a Tlingit village at Fort Tongass, Alaska by a group of prominent Seattle businessmen in 1899. The current totem, a 1938 replica created by Tlingit carver Charles Brown, was acquired a bit more legitimately by the City of Seattle.

A bust of Chief Seattle was created by sculptor James Wehn in 1909, from a study for another statue which stands at Fifth Avenue and Denny Way (Tilikum Place). A 1991 artwork called Day/Night by Havichi Edgar Heap of Birds flanks the bust and comments on the experiences of Native people in Seattle. Occidental Square, one block southeast of Pioneer Place, is the setting for several contemporary carvings in traditional Northwest Coast styles by Duane Pasco. www.pioneersquare.org

Birthplace of Seattle Monument
Alki Beach
A monument on Alki Avenue SW marks the location where the Denny Party landed in 1851, establishing the first non-native settlement on Elliott Bay. In 2001, a plaque acknowledging the assistance that these first settlers received from the region's indigenous people was added to the monument, one of many efforts in recent years to make the role of Native Americans more visible in the local historical record. The nearby Log House Museum offers exhibits and video programs highlighting early contact between Native and non-native people in the Seattle area. www.loghousemuseum.info

Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center
4705 West Marginal Way SW, 206.431.1582

Duwamish Longhouse

This traditional cedar post and beam structure opened in 2009, and represents the first new tribal longhouse constructed in Seattle in over 150 years. The facility serves as the headquarters of the Duwamish Tribe, and offers a variety of public cultural programs including gallery exhibits, films, performances, and community events.

Across the street, Terminal 107 Park and Herring's House Park provide access to the Duwamish River. Up the hill from the Longhouse at Belvedere Viewpoint (3600 Admiral Way SW), a story pole carved by Michael Halady, a descendant of Chief Seattle, honors the Duwamish people. www.duwamishtribe.org

Tillicum Village
Blake Island State Park, 206.623.1445
Located across Elliott Bay from downtown Seattle, Tillicum Village features a replica Northwest Coast Native American longhouse where salmon dinners are served, and performances highlight Northwest Coast dances and legends. Argosy Cruises provides boat transportation to Blake Island. www.tillicumvillage.com

North Wind's Fish Weir
Tukwila International Blvd and E Marginal Way S., Tukwila
The Green River Trail, a bike and pedestrian trail, crosses the Duwamish River at North Wind's Fish Weir. This place is important in the "Epic of the Winds," stories from Puget Sound Salish oral tradition that describe the battles between North Wind and South Wind for control of the region.

The Fish Weir, believed to have been turned to stone by a powerful being called Transformer, is visible in the middle of the river at low tide. The stories are interpreted at Cecil Moses Park on the west side of the river, and are commemorated in artworks by Roger Fernandes, Susan Point, Caroline Orr and John Gierlich placed along the trail on the east side of the river. www.4culture.org/publicart

Did You Know?

Archaeology – A Protected Legacy
Many places around Seattle, from beaches to hiking trails, contain archaeological artifacts made by Native Americans. All archaeological sites are protected by law, and artifacts may not be disturbed or removed from public or private lands.

You can help protect the region's heritage by taking only photographs and leaving only footprints.

To learn more about archaeology in Washington State, click here.

brochure pdf

Seattle Native American Heritage Brochure
Download the guide here.