Isthmus Park good site to honor first settlers

OlympiaJune 9, 2014 

The recent passing of Billy Frank Jr. reminds us that Olympia contains little recognition of the people who lived here for thousands of years before settlement by more recent immigrant groups.

It seems to me that the new Isthmus Park will provide us with a golden opportunity to correct this oversight. Several people, including the designers of Heritage Park, have suggested that the Isthmus Park could be a good location for a first people’s cultural center.

Such a center might contain information about the original settlers of our area. There could be interactive exhibits about ancient skills such as basket weaving and carving. Space could be available for rotating exhibits from tribal museums around the state. Recognition could also be provided for Chief Leschi, Billy Frank Jr. and others who made history here.

The Isthmus Park project now has funding from city, county, state and private sources. I hope that the city of Olympia, as the lead agency, will give serious consideration to providing space for a first people’s cultural center as part of its plans.

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