Quileute plan gathering place for art, culture

LAPUSH — Plans to expand the Oceanside Resort into a artistic and cultural gathering place await the Quileute Tribal Council’s approval, tribal executive director Bill Peach told the Forks Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

Working artists would have space to create and talk about traditional Quileute art, Renee Rux, resort manager, told about 20 people who attended the chamber luncheon.

She discussed the plans she had developed with Wally Jackson, who served as interim executive director before Peach was hired.

“This will be a language and cultural welcoming center, a place of culture where Quileute artists can share their art form,” Rux said.

A small event area and an outdoor area with space for a fire and traditional salmon preparation are also in the works.

‘Set us apart’

“This will really set us apart as a tourist destination, and this can be the place where people can come to learn about the Quileute people, the language, the history and see the art — and see it being made in person.

“I cannot even tell you how excited I am to see this.”

Renovations would include raising the ceilings, and hosting and storing one of the tribe’s oldest canoes, she said.

The lobby of the resort, which is owned by the Quileute tribe, already is home to work by tribal artists, she added.

“We thought adding this on to the resort was a great idea because it is already staffed seven days a week,” she said.

Rux said that long-term plans still include a museum, but that space on the reservation is an issue.

“Because we only have one-square-mile to work with, we are trying to be really mindful of the space we have,” she said.

“Eventually, we could have a museum up on higher ground with a lot more information, but this is a start.”

The square footage and design of the expansion are still to be decided, Rux said.

Peach said the tribe has continued to work with 6th Congressional District Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, on legislation to expand the boundaries of the reservation.

The Quileute, whose reservation is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and by Olympic National Park on three sides, want to swap land near beaches for park land to allow the tribe to move its school, senior center, tribal offices and some housing to higher ground as well as expand its reservation.

The tribe and the park have disputed reservation boundaries for decades.

Changing the boundaries of a national park requires an act of Congress.

“Right now, we are at the point that we almost don’t have any land left to build on,” Peach said.

“We are working on one housing development, and after that, we are out of room. So expanding our boundaries will be very important.

“I’m told that when Congress begins its session, health care will be the first thing it will tackle, but after that I’m told this can be addressed.”

Expanding into park

He said there is a long precedent for expanding the boundaries of tribal reservations, but that it is made more complicated because the land the tribe wants is part of a national park.

“It could take a year or possibly even two years after the legislation passes to get everything worked out,” he said.

Peach said the tribe also is working on communications.

The Talking Raven — the tribal newsletter — has been relaunched. Emily Foster, a recent graduate of the University of Washington, is the editor.

The newsletter is available online at www.quileute nation.org.

Peach said the hiring of an events coordinator awaits approval by the tribal council.

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Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at [email protected] news.com.

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