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Oral History Project

 

 

 

Thomas Scranton

Thomas Scranton


Mukilteo, Washington

What does it mean to be a duwamish?
It’s like it’s there, but you see I’m only sixteenth, and so it’s like a tangent touches a circle in such a small component, as Duwamish touches my life in such a small component, but it still touches.

It’s still there.
Ann Rasmussen

Ann Rasmussen


Tacoma, Washington

When I was very young, I was impressed that I was never to tell anybody, never tell anybody you are Duwamish or an American Indian. My Dad had to go, he went to Catholic College for a while. An when my Daddy died, you could still see the strap marks on his back where he was beaten, because he was Indian.
Cecile Hansen

Cecile Hansen


Burien, Washington

I’m Duwamish and I feel the reason I connect with the Duwamish descendancy is because I think it’s wrong what they done to this tribe from when they signed a treaty. When the pioneers signed a petition and then the government never gave them recognition. I feel very strongly that somebody has to do something. And if I’m instrumental in helping the people that work for us change that, then I have accomplished something for the tribe.
Edith Nelson

Edith Nelson


Shoreline, Washington

What does it mean for you to be Duwamish?

It means connection to those who’ve gone before. It means a community inside myself that I belong to something that’s very special, very beautiful, and very much in balance with the world. The values that our ancestry can bring to us as humans, keep us helping the world be a better place to live in. I can go out and breathe in the air and be so thankful for everything that’s alive around me, partly as a result of what I’ve learned in being Indian, and I feel that I’m more in tune with it genetically as a result of being a Duwamish Indian.
Florence Smoetherman

Florence Smoetherman


Puyallup, Washington

Mrs. Smotherman was instrumental in starting the special education program in the Kent Valley School District.

So we made quite a bit of money and then we went to the school and said we’ve got this money and what can you do about it? And they still weren’t too interested. My Husband got busy (and helped a veterinarian get stationed locally during World War II). [The veterinarian] had a place on the council at church, at Sunday school, and at the school. He was member of the school board, and so when we decided we wanted to have this Special Education -- he talked them into it and his debt to my husband was paid by doing a favor for us and we got that started there [in Kent].
James Rasmussen

James Rasmussen


Seattle, Washington

The whole idea of leadership, and that’s really want it is, when we’re talking about leadership in the Tribe or leadership in a historical society. You’ve got to try to get something don. The total end is to accomplish something when you’re there. So, learning how to deal with other people, and you know, it starts early with my grandfather with attending a lot of meetings. Seeing how some people, you know, would yell and shout and not get anything done, and the people that were quiet, you know, were the people who were doing probably the majority of the work.
Jolene Williams

Jolene Williams


Seattle, Washington

On being manager for the Cultural Longhouse
I think the thing that drives me is that I feel like I’ve done a lot of things in my life and I feel like this is my destiny. I really feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. And I’ve never felt like that with anything that I’ve ever done before in my life. I really feel like there’s a spirit that my ancestors are with me and this is what I’m supposed to be doing and everything that I’ve done in my life sort of led me, to this place in my life, this project.
Mary Lou Slaughter

Mary Lou Slaughter


Port Orchard, Washington

I am Duwamish. It’s not something that somebody can take away from you. And I always tell everybody when I speak, that if you just have one speck of that Indian blood, it seems to come to the surface and it’s right there. Whatever the amount, if you can trace your ancestry, and that bloodline is there; it’s in your heart.
Marilyn Carlson

Marilyn Carlson


Port Orchard, Washington

I think it’s thrilling to know that there are great spiritual teachings that Indians believed in. That’s important to me. I just feel it’s important to know that this great-great-grandmother had spiritual teachings. I wish I knew more about them. It’s a tie with her. I have a strong pride in being a Duwamish today, but it’s here in Kitsap, it’s in this land, in these woods, and this tie with the great-great-grandmother that’s important to me.
Norman Perkins

Norman Perkins


Woodinville, Washington

What does it mean for you to be Duwamish?
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a piece of knowledge that I’ve lived with all my life. And I’ve enjoyed the people that I’ve been involved with in Indian country. And it’s like my English blood, my Danish blood, and my German. I’m proud of all those things and I try to learn as much as I can about each of them. I’ve been closer to my Duwamish heritage than anything because I was raised that way as a young boy. It’s never left me.
Pete Henry

Pete Henry


Marysville, Washington

I’m a Pow Wow dancer, Red Face, in the Long House. I do my traditional way, sing and dance. Medicine people. A Red Face is a medicine people; they help people; they can go out and help brothers.
Anna Gilhousen

Anna Gilhousen


Anacortes, Washington

What does it mean for you to be a Duwamish?
Well, it's the heritage. We are the beginning of the country.  And I'm very proud of it.
Patricia Goldenhawk

Patricia Goldenhawk


Seattle, Washington

I don't care who you are; I don't care what happened to you, or what you've done. Your Spirit is special. That's what I say. It's not about religion. Your spirit is so special, and it will help you in so many ways. You just have to make that connection. You have to make that connection to your creator, or god, or whatever you want to call it. And you have to allow yourself to lern that you are a specila being for whatever purpose you're here. Everybody's here for a purpose.
Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman


Tracyton, Washington

What is your Duwamish ancestry?
William Upinshaw (The Port Madison Indian agent), who was called DeShaw. His wife was daughter of Angeline (Who was the daughter of Chief Seattle). He was the grandfather of my grandmother Lulu McPhee. She married Joseph Sackman, one of the three Sackman brothers who were loggers and timbermen here in Kitsap county. My mother was Lulu, daughter of Lulu Sackman.
Ferne Boddy

Ferne Boddy


Bremerton, Washington

I was born on Hoods Canal. My mother went into labor and they took her in a rowboat across to Duckabush where I was born over there, and I was born on the way to the mid-wife's house, and that's why they call me Ferne. I was born right among the ferns.