‘First on the Waterways: The Puyallup People (spuyaləpab )’

The Foss Waterway Seaport presents a new exhibit exploring the history of the Puyallup People and their intimate connection to the Salish Sea and the Puyallup River, opening Feb. 15.

“The Foss Waterway Seaport maritime museum is located on Puyallup land, and this is an important story to tell,” said Seaport Museum Executive Director Wesley A. Wenhardt. For millennia, the Puyallup people have lived by, traveled on, and drawn sustenance from local waterways. The Puyallup maintained strong connections to Puget Sound, the Puyallup River, and the creeks and streams that feed into it. The exhibit shows the historical and traditional connections between the Puyallup people and the waterways, how the tribe persevered in maintaining those connections, and what the relationship looks like today.

The exhibit highlights the life of the Puyallup People in the South Sound, including canoe building and fishing technique, resource utilization, diet, recreation, world view, and contact with other tribes and later explorers. To tell this story accurately, the exhibit content has been developed in partnership with local members of the Puyallup Tribe.

The story of the Puyallup portrayed in the exhibit will cover past, present, and future relationships with the water and access to it. The exhibit will provide visitors with an appreciation of the impact and culture of the Native Americans who lived here. In addition to being viewed by the public, the exhibit will add to local school curriculum through on-site programs, and provide a space for Native American-based public and educational programming at the Seaport.

“Generous support from the tribe’s historic preservation office and language department contributed to the development of the exhibit,” said exhibit curator Chris Fiala Erlich.

“We are impressed with the sensitive and comprehensive approach the Seaport has taken, guided by the curator Chris Erlich,” said Brandan Reynon, Assistant Director, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Tribal Archaeologist, Puyallup Tribe of Indians. A series of cultural programing activities will be scheduled monthly at the Foss Waterway Seaport including

canoe paddling, carving, weaving and dance. The exhibit coincides with Tribal Canoe Journeys, which is being hosted locally by the Puyallup People this July.

This special exhibit has received financial support from the City of Tacoma, The Puyallup Tribe, TOTE Maritime, Port of Tacoma, Bruce Dees & Associates, Connelly Law Offices, Foss Waterway Development Authority, Frederickson Power LP, Georgio’s Catering Company, P n J Machining, Inc., Pro Call Center, Inc., Sound Glass Sales, Inc., TR Trucking,

Inc., Tacoma Community College, and Foss Waterway Seaport. The exhibit was curated by Chris Erlich and fabricated by KelTech Plastics of Tacoma. For details about these and other events, please visit our website at www.fosswaterwayseaport.org


The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Admission: Free for Seaport members, $10 for adults, $8 for children (age 5+), students, members of the military and seniors (age 62+), and $25 for a Family Pass (2 adults and 4 children). Admission is free 4-8 p.m. every Third Thursday of each month courtesy of Columbia Bank.

Membership: Several membership levels are available. The Seaport is also a participating member of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM). Purchasing a NARM family membership allows free or discounted admission to over 900 museums across North America. Parking and public side-tie moorage are available adjacent to the museum.

Moorage: Up to four hours of moorage is free and utilities are available. Moorage is within walking distance of restaurants, museums, and the downtown core.