Column: Duwamish Tribe finally gets some respect

"That must have been some cat, people joked.

But before anyone knew what they were, the bones found in a crawl space at the Pike Place Market Clinic Wednesday were simply, mysteriously, remains. Someone at the construction site called state Sen. Joe McDermott's office, which was more than happy to call the media and start spinning. McDermott, D-Seattle, is sponsoring a bill that would address how to proceed when human remains are found in the state, which is steeped in Native American history. This was validation.

McDermott's office immediately called the Duwamish Tribe to say that human remains had been found on what was once their sacred ground.

So a group of Duwamish hurried over to do an honor ceremony over the bones.

Then the King County Medical Examiner's Office showed up to take a look. This was no Indian ancestor, a representative said. This was ... a cat. And some shells.

Everybody got a good chuckle — the cops, the media. Everybody but the Duwamish. Members said they would have donned their traditional dress and done it all over again.

"We believed they were human remains, and if that were true, there's a high probability they were Duwamish," said Tom Speer, who serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit Duwamish Tribal Services and was one of the people who went down to the site on Wednesday."

Get the Story:
Nicole Brodeur: Duwamish get it: r-e-s-p-e-c-t (The Seattle Times 2/29)

Related Stories:
Bones near Market found to be animal's (The Seattle Times 2/28)
Bones found at Pike Place Market, but they're not human (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 2/27)

Relevant Links:
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