About the Squaxin
Museum Library and Research Center
Tribal elders have always
taught the young people to respect nature's gifts, to take only what
they need and use all that they take. Tribal people depend on these gifts
for food, trade, culture and survival. We have a unique relationship
with natural resources and a deep understanding of the sciences, such
as precise knowledge of ocean currents and tides, weather patterns and
changes, natural medicines, marine biology and even engineering, as evidenced
by complex fishing structures and equipment. Many tribal members continue
to make their livelihood through salmon, geoduck and clam fisheries.
The strong connection between the seven inlets of South
Puget Sound and the Squaxin Island Tribe - People
of the Water - is the
core theme that is presented in all exhibits and galleries throughout
the MLRC. As a living eco-museum, the MLRC shows how nature and Squaxin
Island Tribal culture relate. Key topics, such as our prehistoric and
present day aquatics-centered lifestyles, timber/wild game harvest and
management techniques, oral history and legends, the Treaty of Medicine
Creek, religious practices and arts, all highlight this link with nature
and the inland sea.
Squaxin Island Museum Library and Research Center (MLRC) tells the
story of the People of the Water through a series of
exhibits and displays depicting the relationship between Squaxin Island
Tribal members and the seven inlets of South Puget Sound. You may also
experience our rich culture by participating in cultural activities and
The hopes and dreams of our elders and those who have
walked before us have come true through this magnificent facility. Our
culture, past and present, is preserved for people of all generations.
With a small, yet highly professional staff, the MLRC presents exhibits,
lectures, films, tours, traditional skills workshops and educational
outreach programs for students in local schools.
The MLRC also features a public
library and a specialty gift shop specializing in Squaxin Island and
other Native American art and literature.
- The immense Hall of the Seven Inlets
- An exhibit featuring cultural items
recovered from an ancient village site
- Guided tours by appointment
- Storytelling Circle
- Museum book store/gift shop
- Wheelchair accessible
A Connection with the Burke Museum
The Squaxin Island Museum
Library and Research Center is pleased to associate and collaborate
with the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University
of Washington in Seattle. The Burke is a regional museum and the
oldest public museum in Washington, and it's support of the Squaxin
Island project is more than welcome. Burke Museum staff provide
exchanges of information and assisted in developing
the facility and its exhibits and programs. The Burke shares artifacts
and displays from its collection of four million historical objects.
have also been established with the Washington State Historical Society
Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian
Institute to receive technical assistance, host traveling exhibits,
develop joint programming and obtain artifact loans pertaining to the
Squaxin Island Tribe.
museum contributes to the life of the whole state, the whole nation and everywhere in the world where people believe
it is important to share heritage, past, present and future. This
is an incredibly important facility.”
James Nason, former Professor of Anthropology and Curator of New World
Ethnology, University of Washington's Burke Museum
The Squaxin Island Tribe believes that well rounded education is the
key to a strong community. The MLRC is a center for learning in much
the same way that intertribal trade sites drew our ancestors to one
central location to learn and share knowledge about everything from
bartering and trade to marine biology and harvest techniques.
staff work closely with local schools, which have indicated their strong
support for the MLRC. It is viewed as a positive move toward enhancing
educational opportunities, particularly those dealing with Pacific
Northwest history, the sciences and an understanding of Squaxin Island
programs include storytelling series, language instruction, cultural
classes, research projects and traditional activities such as basketweaving
MLRC is a place for researching current issues as well as history.
It is a gateway to a wide range of educational information including
exhibits, tribal legends, family trees, artifacts, contemporary works
of art, a large variety of books, tribal documents, audio and video
programming and internet services.
Squaxin Island Tribal culture is a reflection of
the strong relationship between tribal members and the vast resources
of the land and sea, and is alive with creative expressions such
as basketweaving, carving and drumming.
events include the First Salmon Ceremony and the Sqwi' Gwi, which recognizes
and honors students for their educational achievements. The Tribe also
supports a button robe project that provides Native American high school
graduates with traditional blankets. Language restoration and preservation
is a main priority. An intertribal drum group based at Squaxin Island
strives to preserve and enhance tribal culture through its West Coast
and Coast Salish music and potlatch protocol. The drum group focuses
on youth and educational programs.
museum is the heart of our community."
Foster, Director of the Cultural Resources Department
am delighted to be part of this project!"
Munro, Secretary of State 1980 - 2001
The Squaxin Island Tribe Museum Library and Research
Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.