For the Salish Tribes of the Puget Sound, a single large building served as the center of the community, a place for community living and major events. The home of the Suquamish, Old Man House, was over 600 feet long and stood in what is now Old Man House Park. The House served our people for generations before being burned down by the government in 1870 following the death of our leader, Chief Seattle.
At the center of our cultural resurgence is the new Suquamish Community House, sgwәdzadad qәł ?altxw (The House of Awakened Culture), modeled after its historic predecessor.
The 13,169 square foot Suquamish Community House features traditional-style architecture and materials, such as eight house posts carved in the Coastal Salish style and cedar siding. Like Old Man House, it is located on the waterfront in Suquamish.
The Community House has a 6,000 square foot auditorium with perimeter bench seating for 600 seated guests, and a central, wooden floor area specifically created for the traditional song and dance. The central area will allow traditional table seating for 300 guests. The facility also includes a commercial kitchen and a 1,000 square foot reception area with accessible public bathrooms.
The Community House and its adjoining outdoor area is used for a wide variety of community-building programs that teach and celebrate our living culture. Community members can participate in Lushootseed language classes, traditional weaving and carving, Youth Canoe Journey trainings, regalia making, and song and dance practice in the Community House. In addition, the Tribe, its guests and others will use the Community House as a location for traditional ceremonies and modern celebrations that mark life's milestones, such as honoring, graduations, family reunions, weddings and funerals.
The sgwәdzadad qәł ?altxw was the center of the 2009 Tribal Canoe Journey Hosting. The Tribe hosted more than 10,000 people from all over the Pacific Northwest, Canada and Alaska.