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Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Welcome pole symbolizing Chief Seattle’s father arriving in Bainbridge

By meerna Jul11,2024
Welcome pole symbolizing Chief Seattle’s father arriving in Bainbridge


Suquamish artist carves pole symbolizing Chief Seattle’s father to be placed on Sound to Olympic Trail on Bainbridge Island.

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Commissioned by Bainbridge Island Parks & Trails Foundation, Suquamish artist Randi Purser is in the process of carving a welcome pole depicting Father Chief Seattle. The 14-foot cedar pole will be placed at the Sound to Olympics Trailhead on Bainbridge Island.

“The STO Gate is the perfect place to place this welcome pole, a physical embodiment of our appreciation for the Suquamish land and an invitation for community members and visitors to learn more about the art and culture of our Suquamish friends and neighbors,” the foundation said in a statement announcing the project.

The Foundation plans to install a welcome pole this fall.

Suquamish Cultural Celebration

The idea for the welcome pole came about during a brainstorming session for an appropriate interpretive element at the eastern terminus of the Sound to Olympics Trail, Mary Meier, executive director of the Bainbridge Island Parks & Trails Foundation, said in an email. When the foundation approached the Suquamish Tribe about collaborating, the tribe invited the organization to work with Purser, who suggested carving a welcome pole for Chief Seattle’s father.

The foundation was thrilled with her suggestion, Meier said, explaining the significance of the pole.

“It will be a celebration of the rich culture of our friends and neighbors in Suquamish, but also a way to inspire users of this linear park to visit the Suquamish Museum and, in the future, even through STO,” Meier said.

Purser has been commissioned to sculpt artwork depicting Chief Seattle’s mother for the Seattle waterfront, the foundation said. The works are described as carved house pillars, part of a series of post-and-beam structures that will be installed between Spring and Columbia streets in Seattle. The structures are intended to mirror the structure of a longhouse. Purser is one of three collaborating sculptors on the project, which was initiated by artist Oscar Tuazon, according to the city of Seattle’s Office of Waterfront and Civic Projects.

Once in place, the pole on Bainbridge Island will face east, toward Puget Sound, while the carved poles on the Seattle homes will face west, toward Suquamish territory, according to the foundation.

Community Fundraising

The city of Bainbridge Island, which manages the Sound to Olympics Trail, is partnering with the foundation on the project. The city council approved the commissioned welcome pole and provided $20,000 in public art funding for the installation, Meier said. The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island is also supporting the project with a $10,000 grant.

More: Sound to Olympics Trail Opens on Bainbridge

The foundation’s overall goal is to raise $65,000.

“We raised $51,500 toward our goal of $65,000,” Meier said Tuesday. “We raised a portion of that amount quietly, through larger donations, and shared the rest of the goal with the community so everyone could participate and be a part of this unique project.”

By meerna

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