The Seattle Aquarium honors our location in the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people, who have stewarded these lands and waters for generations. We recognize we can only achieve our mission by being an inclusive community of varied knowledge, perspectives and skills.
Our work with the Coast Salish tribes and Urban Native Community will continue to inform and help shape our family and education programming, conservation research and policy, guest experience, and capital project planning and design as the Aquarium’s mission evolves and expands.
The Seattle Aquarium welcomes and embraces the wisdom of the Coast Salish Tribes and the urban Native people who live in the region. The Ocean Pavilion project has demonstrated exemplary community engagement but also has discovered how to listen and engage with the Indigenous community throughout the entire design process, incorporating their immense knowledge and wisdom.
Ocean Pavilion Design and Development
In consultation with Colleen Echohawk, a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and President/founder of Headwater People Consulting, we have worked to bring Coast Salish voices into the process of designing the Ocean Pavilion and its exhibits. Engagement has included hearing traditional stories from Coast Salish elders, design workshops with tribal youth, visits to tribal cultural centers and listening sessions with Coast Salish representatives and the Aquarium’s architects and exhibit designers.
Coast Salish Art and Recognition
Ongoing collaboration continues to incorporate the intricate and beautiful Coast Salish line art form into the design of the new Ocean Pavilion. The planned public art installation for the Ocean Pavilion’s entry will welcome people from all over the world and acknowledge, through the power of art, the Aquarium’s site as the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. Working with Asia Tail, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and member of the Urban Native community, an all Indigenous multi-generational selection committee announced local artist Daniel Joseph Friday, a member of the Lummi Nation, will create an installation for the entry of the Ocean Pavilion.
As part of our conservation planning and program development for the Ocean Pavilion, Suquamish Tribal Councilmember Robin Little Wing Sigo joined the Aquarium on its last expedition to Indonesia. Conversations are ongoing as the Aquarium explores opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration with international partners and Coast Salish representatives with a focus on connecting youth.