A tribal longhouse under construction in Seattle by the Duwamish tribe got an important boost recently when The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Prior Lake, MN, announced a matching donation of $60,000 to the Duwamish tribe of Seattle to equip the kitchen in the new building.
The $2-million longhouse was nearly complete but for the kitchen, which is a key element for the various programs and events that the building will house.
Traditional Duwamish meals are part of the revitalization of their culture and identity, according to Duwamish Tribal Chairwoman Cecile Hansen. The kitchen will be a commercial facility suitable for catering and cooking for large groups, but will specialize in serving traditional Duwamish foods. An outdoor salmon grill and picnic tables will provide a place for traditional food preparation and consumption. The tribe also intends to establish a line of smoked salmon for regional distribution and mail order.
The central part of the facility is the longhouse, consisting of traditional Salish design elements with cedar post-and-beam structure. The main room in the longhouse will be large enough to accommodate hundreds of visitors. Traditional longhouses had partitions that enabled residents to adjust spaces as needed. This main room is designed with that flexibility in mind. The longhouse will also feature a Cultural Resource Center.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 22, 2008.