"For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children's future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it." - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
Driving between Seattle and Vancouver on I-5, we noticed these stunning Orca statues in front of the Tulalip Casino & Resort and decided we needed to pull over to get a closer look. We figured the casino might have some art exhibits to look at and needed a break from the road anyways. Inside, the casino was extremely beautiful, but we must have looked very out of place carrying around a 2-year old amongst the slot machines because this nice lady came up to us and asked if we needed any help. We responded that we were from California and just stopped because the resort looked beautiful. She directed us to the hotel portion and gave us some recommendations. We walked over to the main entrance of the hotel and the totem poles were stunning!
As my husband was taking pictures of the totem poles with Ronan and I in front of them this same nice lady came running up to us and said, "Okay you need a family picture now!" After the picture she asked us if we had any interest in visiting the tribe's museum. We were ecstatic! She told us to wait right there while she got us complementary passes to the Hibulb Cultural Center.
We had the entire museum to ourselves and what we thought would be a 30 minute walk-through turned into 2 hours of interactive family fun and personal enrichment.
One of the best parts of our time in the museum was being able to talk with Cary Williams, the Museum Assistant. As he shared with us stories from his grandfather and people, our authentic cultural exchange was uplifting and inspiring. Greg and I will forever be grateful for the time he shared with us even past the museum closing. As we shared our experience with Cary about how we happened upon the museum he told us that it had "called to us" and we truly felt a spirit of truth in that statement. As both of us are descendants of whale people, his ancestors the Killer Whales and mine Paikea, I can only feel like we were drawn there for a reason.
The museum gift shop was full of incredible art from indigenous artists and companies and even local tribal members. It is so important to learn about indigenous people and support local tribal artists whenever possible.
Cary explained to us that we are living in a time where the song of our ancestors is calling to us and as indigenous people we are uniting in our similarities to find the lost canoe full of all of the good things of the earth.
Hibulb Cultural Center was definitely a highlight of our trip! I would recommend the Museum to everyone and can't wait to continue to learn about the Tulalip Tribe and return to visit them again.