Station 4 – Those That Were Here Before Us


We acknowledge the indigenous people who have stewarded the land of and around Garfield Elementary since time immemorial, people who are still here. The Steh-Chass band of indigenous people of the Squaxin Island Tribe, the Squalli-Absch (ancestors of the Nisqually tribe), Cowlitz and Coast Salish peoples. We walk with gratitude on this land and in this life. We are reminded of the value of listening. Listening to what is being said and what is not being said. Listening with our ears and with our spirit.

You can visit the Squaxin Island Museum, which includes a Library and Research Center to learn more about the People of the Water and their strong connection with the seven inlets of South Puget Sound.


The month is dedicated to honoring indigenous peoples, the culture, and learning and understanding the true history of Natives in America. It is important that any celebrations or activities honor and respect indigenous heritage and are not culturally insensitive (such as crafting head dresses, jingle dresses, and tepees).

A good rule of thumb is to make sure any primary resources used are by indigenous peoples – like songs, poems, stories, books, and storytelling videos, and being intentional in learning about tribal affiliation/different tribes.

Chief Seattle (1864)

Chief Si’ahl (pronounced “See-ahlth) was the leader of both the Suquamish and Duwamish people – Duwamish lands make up metropolitan Seattle.

He gave a famous speech pleading for respect of Native American rights and environmental values in 1854 to Isaac Stevens, the Governor of Washington Territories at the time. The speech was delivered in Seattle’s native Lushotseed language, translated into Chinook j, and then English. You can find the speech HERE.


You can listen to AUTHENTIC MUSIC OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN from this album. Most of the tracks are very old – some over a hundred years!


Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal

Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.

Find the Library book HERE.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and Frane Lessac

The Cherokee community is grateful for blessings and challenges that each season brings. This is modern Native American life as told by an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.

Find the Library book HERE.