Tribe Protests Graveside Construction -- Duwamish Want Work Near Old Village To Stop
Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Members of the Duwamish Indian tribe and a group of supporters staged a protest yesterday at the construction site of the Port of Seattle's World Trade Center, where human remains that may be linked to an old Indian village recently were found.
An area no larger than a double garage was roped off at an archaeologist's suggestion. But construction is continuing on the rest of the site at Alaskan Way and Bell Street. Construction workers have found artifacts and human remains at the site.
A Seattle archaeologist says the construction site is in the vicinity of a known Duwamish village. And construction work at the site was exactly what a half-dozen members of the Duwamish Tribe and 20 supporters, including former Seattle City Councilman Charlie Chong, came to protest.
The protesters drummed to honor ancestors they believe were buried there and elsewhere along Seattle's waterfront.
"If you were to go over to Evergreen-Washelli (Cemetery) and dig up all the white man's graves, do you think that would be allowed?" asked Duwamish Chief Manny Oliver.
Officials plan to meet with archaeologists and tribal representatives tomorrow to determine the origin of the bones and what should be done, Port spokeswoman Beth Jordan said.
Duwamish tribal members are now included in the process with representatives of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot tribes, Jordan said. The other tribes were contacted, she said, because, unlike the Duwamish, they are federally recognized.
"We thought we had Duwamish on the tour of the site Tuesday," said Jordan. "There's no doubt the Duwamish are an important part of the region's history."
Duwamish tribal chairwoman Cecele Hansen said there were two known Duwamish villages between Pier 66 (site of the current project) and Pier 107, with burial grounds between them.
"Our ancestors' remains are all around. I want (the Port) to find out what is there and build no more," Hansen said.
On Dec. 2, workers at the Pier 66 site found what the King County Medical Examiner's Office later determined was a thigh bone of an adult female. On Monday, several more skeletal remains, including a human skull, were found.
And a couple of days later, more remains were found.
The Port has hired a Seattle firm, Larsen Anthropological Archeological Services, to examine and test the site being developed by Wright Runstad & Co. into a 68,000-square-foot office building.
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