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Park newly named for Pilchuck Julia blessed with honor

Doug Ramsay photo

Tulalip Tribal Chairwoman Teri Gobin (left) and tribal member Patti Gobin (center) perform along with Tulalip Tribe drummers and singers to open the Pilchuck Julia Landing ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 27 in the afternoon.


SNOHOMISH — On a day where temperatures hit the mid-80s, Pilchuck Julia newly stood sentry over the event that served as the blessing for the park named for and dedicated to her.
On Aug. 27, direct sunlight blazed over the 20-acre park on Lincoln Avenue at the edge of town, with the 60 or more in attendance gathered around and under a canopy facing a canvas depicting
Pilchuck Julia.
The people were there to dedicate Pilchuck Julia Landing, its new name. The Snohomish River flowed as a backdrop to the set-up positioned in front of the boat launch.
In historical recollections such as The Snohomish County Women’s Legacy Project, Pilchuck Julia carries a legacy of resilience and skill. She was known for her ability to predict the weather and to endure both hard work and loss. She outlived her husband Pilchuck Jack by nearly two decades. He died in the early 1900s. She sold fish and apples to support herself and to help extended family. She shared her cabin with her daughter-in-law Hattie, and Hattie’s five children.
“She had a hard life but she aspired in a non-Native community. She made herself welcome. She had a strong voice,” said Teri Gobin, chairwoman for the Tulalip Tribes.
Some at the event said Pilchuck Julia’s spirit was present on Aug. 27 affecting the weather and witnessing the park blessing. They say she will be there now, knowing the place is for her. Hosted by the city of Snohomish, the ceremony was intended to honor not just the park’s namesake, but its former residents.
“This is hallowed ground,” said Mayor John Kartak, at the start of the event. He spoke of his appreciation for all the work that went into the partnership with the Tulalip Tribes. “It’s a growing relationship,” he said.
The 10-by-10-foot portrait of Pilchuck Julia is temporarily stationed at City Hall on Union Avenue.
The city itself gets its name from the tribe. Snohomish is the anglicized version of the traditional Lushootseed name for the people who lived here, said Ryan Miller, environmental liaison for the Tulalip Tribes. In Lushootseed, it is spelled Sdohobsh.
The Native American groups that lived along the Snohomish River in Pilchuck Julia’s time “had three village sites within a mile of here,” Miller said. About 13 years prior to her death, Pilchuck Julia Jack sat for a photo that was displayed behind 15 performers last week. Her jaw set, shoulders back, a look of hard pride on her face as she was photographed by Darius Reynaud Kinsey.
Pilchuck Julia made her home on the river that provides a backdrop for her park, and presenters from the Tulalip Tribes and City Councilwoman Linda Redmon say the blessing was deliberately done on-site, so her
spirit could hear her name said aloud, and she’d know the park was dedicated to her.
Her legacy is that of a hardworking and outspoken, at a time when women, particularly those of Native American descent, did not speak out.
The direct sunlight gave the afternoon event a sweltering persona, and as the event wrapped up light wind gusts gave relief from the heat.
“She made a beautiful day for us,” Gobin said.

 

  

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