September 20, 2010

Coast Salish statue in Tacoma plaza

Statue unveiling brings Puyallup Tribe, Tacoma together at Tollefson Plaza

By Kathleen CooperThe calm eyes of a 20-foot native welcome figure now look out from one of downtown Tacoma’s most vexing spaces.

In a moving, two-hour blessing ceremony Saturday, the face of the open-armed female carved in Coast Salish style was unveiled before almost 300 people at Tollefson Plaza, next door to the Courtyard by Marriott on Pacific Avenue.

“After we are all long gone, she will be still standing here, facing the sunrise,” said Bill Sterud, a member of the Puyallup tribal council who emceed the event.

“This is so much more than a piece of carved wood or art,” he said. “It’s no secret that the relationship between the tribe and the city of Tacoma hasn’t always been friendly.”

But “this statue is a symbol of shared peoples,” he said.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Best Indian Monuments to Topple.

Below:  "Denise Reed of Tacoma, a member of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, listens to speakers Saturday during the ceremony for the traditional cedar figure, background, at Tollefson Plaza." (Janet Jensen)

1 comment:

Rob said...

More on the subject:

Welcoming the past, present and future

Tacoma receives its first truly indigenous monument

More than 300 sets of eyes peered at the monumental piece of art unveiled at Tollefson Plaza in downtown Tacoma Sept. 18. One set peered back. They were the eyes of a 22-foot tall depiction of a traditional Coast Salish woman--a welcoming figure to look over all of Tacoma and its visitors for generations to come.