The Northwest Maritime Center has posted new signage at the intersection of Jackson and Water streets that acknowledges that all their programs take place on the ancestral homelands of Native …
The Northwest Maritime Center has posted new signage at the intersection of Jackson and Water streets that acknowledges that all their programs take place on the ancestral homelands of Native Americans.
This very welcome statement indirectly offers a very different perspective from that found on other informational signage throughout Point Hudson.
Immediately adjacent to the new NWMC banner, a legacy sign states that “Port Townsend was officially founded on April 24, 1851. Over the years the Native Americans moved on or integrated with the settlers …”
Contrast this perspective with information provided by cicmehan trail signs, also on port property. Native American youth were victims of attempted lynchings, their lodgings were destroyed, promised compensation was never delivered, the community was officially banned from Port Townsend and relocated to Indian Island (until the U.S. Navy pushed them off again.)
Little “integration” and ample reason to “move on.”
A second legacy sign on the waterfront tells us that “Native lifestyle … was severely impacted by the developments that soon followed the white man’s arrival.” Accurate, but again no meaningful context is provided. No mention of Jim Crow era laws and violence. Instead, the sign suggests that the new saloons and bordellos were just too much temptation for the Indians. Alcohol abuse did them in, not unjust policies.
Sadly, these racist policies became the playbook a short time later for banning Chinese and burning their properties.
Let’s set the record straight. The port should remove these outdated signs and return them to the Jefferson County Historical Society for a badly needed update.