"When I read Roger Fernandes' opinion piece in the Seattle Times, I knew instantly that the Northwest Native Cultural Center (NNCC) was the right project. Upon reviewing the full project proposal and detailed plan, my excitement only grew. The design calls for the existing building to be re-purposed as a free exhibit space and cultural center showcasing Native artifacts from our region. The largest part of this indoor space would be dedicated to the present, giving visitors the opportunity to interact with artisans and watch them work. The asphalt area to the east of the building would be torn up and transformed into an interactive green space complete with a play area for children and an outdoor eating area. Not only will this vibrant space appeal to tourists, it's a place I can see locals returning to over and over again.
But this is not just a proposal that says all the right things, it carries the weight of history and permanence. The NNCC belongs at the Seattle Center because it isn't a random idea inspired by self-promotion or something that is trendy or interesting today and gone tomorrow. The Cultural Center would anchor us in our past and hold a mirror to our present. There is an empty place in our lives today where Native culture should live. I struggle to tell the story of Seattle to my daughter and to make her understand that all the parts of this story are who we are today. She and I have had too many awkward, uninformed conversations in front of totem poles, signs in the Lushootseed language and busts of our city's namesake; I need help. We need the story and culture of the First People to live outside of a museum and mingle with our everyday moments.
Drafters of the NNCC proposal said it best when they wrote that the Cultural Center, "is not an initiative that would benefit any one person, group, tribe or class of people, but a vision to broaden our city's cultural awareness and enrich its identity -- in effect, to make it whole." It's time to make Seattle whole by embracing who we are and celebrating the unique heritage of Washington's First People in the heart of our city."
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Blog by unsinkable: Native Cultural Center the right choice for Seattle Center
(The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 8/27)