What a joy to discover a great new museum in my backyard! The Tulalip Tribes Hibulb Cultural Center opened in August. A friend got an early peek when invited to tour with a party of blogger journalists. She reported that it was a beautiful place to visit, so two other friends and I took the hour drive north to see for ourselves. She was right.
There was an intentionality about everything we saw, which is why I’m sure the exterior design had significance even though I wasn’t sure what it was.
The finest materials went into the construction of the building, from the colorful slate floors to a longhouse that filled our lungs with the redolence of cedar.
Two welcoming poles greeted us. You can’t see it in this photo, but the base of the pole on the right is
encircled by school bus designs, which represent one part of the center’s mission, to “preserve the legacy of cultural values” for a younger generation, by giving school tours and engaging children in tribal history and culture.
Museum displays show how cedar trees and fishing supported the tribes in the past, and describe the effects of treaties on earlier generations and the present one, education in government schools, and current tribal governance and operations. I learned that intellectual property rights was a concept familiar to the tribes long before present-day lawyers started thinking about the issue. “Our songs, dances, stories, basket designs and carvings are owned by certain families and are used only with their permission. Ownership of this knowledge may be given by families to particular family members, other selected people or the whole tribe.” After reading this I wasn’t surprised to learn that the tribes are “working with the World Intellectual Property Organization to draft tribal law to protect our tribal and customary rights to property and intellectual property, and our trademarks and copyrights.”
If you live in the area, I recommend a field trip to this not-yet-discovered museum to breathe in Tulalip history as well as the scent of cedar.