wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House opened its doors on March 12. The two days of opening ceremonies represented the culmination of more than forty years of dreams and hard work to create this important learning and gathering space for Native American students, faculty, staff, and others of various cultures and communities on the University of Washington's Seattle campus.
“This is going to be a safe, sacred place for our people,” Leonard Forsman, chairman of the Suquamish Tribe, told the Seattle Times. “Today, the spirits and ancestors are happy.”
Quoted in an Indian Country Today article, Connie McCloud, cultural director of the Puyallup Tribe, said, “The settlers burned our longhouses and they stole or burned the ancestors’ things. This longhouse acknowledges the presence of our people, that our children belong in this environment. It acknowledges that we’re still here, our people are here, we have our canoes, we have our languages.”
American Indian Studies Professor Charlotte Coté told UW Today, “It will be a place where students can come and feel safe. It’ll be a place where we can come and express who we are as indigenous people.
“It’s not only a place for native students to gather,” Denny Hurtado, former chair of UW's Native American Advisory Board, said in The Daily. “Really, it’s about connecting our cultures, and our community with our country.”