The center in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood serves as a hub for Native American culture and art, as well as for social services to Native Americans. Because of program and federal cuts, the center has been experiencing financial struggles since last year.
Joseph McCormick, the director of finance for the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation said the center serves as the headquarters for the foundation and that the additional funds will help with the center’s recovery.
“So we’ve had a lot of capacity that we’ve lost and this will help us to restore that capacity — the staff cuts and budget cuts. We’ve also incurred some debt, and so it’ll help us to recover from that and then to begin rebuilding,” McCormick said.
McCormick said funds have been raised from other sources as well, such as individual and online donors and tribes, and that the foundation had applied for help from the Snoqualmie Tribe.
“The work that Daybreak Star does for Northwest Natives and others is critical,” said Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Chairwoman Carolyn Lubenau, in a United Indians of All Tribes Foundation news release. “The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe wanted to ensure that the Center’s programs are able to continue.”
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“We’re motivated to work really hard to raise money so it doesn’t go out of business,” Smith told KING 5 News.
“Not having Daybreak Star, not having United Indians would really negatively impact tens of thousands of people,” says Lynette Jordan, Colville/Ojibwe, family services director at the center, in the video on the Indiegogo page.
The center was built in 1974 and opened in 1977—seven years after about 100 Native Americans scaled the fence at what was then Fort Lawson. Those activists were ensuring Natives got a piece of the decommissioned Fort, which they did.
To claim the Discovery Park bluff that serves as a spiritual and cultural respite in Seattle, local Native Americans in 1970 surrounded a military fort and scaled the fences.
“They felt that we needed a place for the urban Indian population,” Chrissy Harris, Haida/Katzie, says in the video. She is administrative coordinator at the center.
The center provides a number of services to Natives in the Puget Sound area including giving elders a space to gather, providing foster care programs, outreach for urban Indians, programs for inmates, a youth home for homeless adolescents and a workforce program.
To help save Daybreak Star, visit Indiegogo. The center has until February to finish raising the money.
SEATTLE — Staff for the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center have started an online fundraising effort to offset around $280,000 in debt. The center, which operates in Seattle’s Discovery Park, has struggled in the wake of grant and other program cuts.
“It is a really urgent situation. We really have to pay attention and get our bills paid for,” said Jeff Smith, board chairman of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation which operates the facility.
Smith said staff considered closing Daybreak Star in September, when it appeared the situation was a “crisis”.
Since then, explained Smith, staff has been cut and the budget of the non-profit has been balanced. It now has six months to pay back about half of its debt.
“We’re motivated to work really hard to raise money so it doesn’t go out of business,” said Smith.
Daybreak Star opened in 1977, seven years after about 100 Native Americans scaled the fence at what was then Fort Lawson, demanding part of the property which was being decommissioned by the federal government.
The confrontation led to the City of Seattle setting aside land for Daybreak Star in Discovery Park.
Smith does not believe Daybreak Star will close. It runs five programs in the community for Native Americans which he said are in solid shape.
When you think of Seattle, the first things that come to mind are probably the Space Needle, Puget Sound, the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix or maybe professional sports franchises like the Mariners or the Seahawks. Somehow forgotten among all the contemporary lore of this beautiful seaport is the knowledge that it teemed with Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before white settlers arrived.
In fact, Seattle, the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, is named after a leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes, Chief Si’ahl. Other tribes in the area include the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie. Today, many of them continue their long-held artistic traditions, including basket-weaving.
If you’re planning a trip to this vibrant city, you should by all means take in its traditional tourist attractions. But to really rock your visit with some Native American culture, we recommend these five destinations, all off the beaten path:
Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center
Located on 20 acres in Discovery Park, Seattle’s largest city park, with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center is a central hub showcasing all the Native tribes in the area. Daybreak Star serves many purposes, says its parent organization, the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation—a conference center, a pow wow venue, a gathering place for after-school programs and an art gallery that features a large body of work by Native artists.
For a real taste of Native culture—literally—go on a four-hour escape to Tillicum Village on Blake Island, just eight miles west of Seattle, in Puget Sound. Guests are treated to steamed clams upon arrival and can watch a traditional Northwest Coast salmon bake in the longhouse. After the feast, enjoy a Native music and dance show that tells the colorful story of the Coast Salish Tribes, also called the Puget Salish or Lushootseed peoples. Daily tours run from May through September.
If you’re up for a beautiful drive to observe the region’s abundant wildlife, Juanita Bay Park is a quick 15 miles east of Seattle, on the other side of adjoining Lake Washington. It’s a 110-acre marshy wetland that is home to all kinds of wildlife, including songbirds, shorebirds, turtles and beavers. Guided tours are available, or walk along the paved trails and boardwalks solo. Either way, you will learn a lot about this natural habitat through interpretive signs that are positioned throughout the park. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
Located at the University of Washington, the Burke is the state’s oldest museum. It is dedicated to honoring, researching and sharing the heritage of diverse peoples from all over the world, including the many Native tribes in the state and beyond. Here you will find thousands of Coast Salish artifacts and artworks, as well as a number of exhibits that feature artwork from other tribes, such as the Tlingit and Haida of British Columbia and southeast Alaska.
For more details, go to BurkeMuseum.org. (On this site, you will also find an extensive list of Native American cultural centers and museums. Just type “Native Americans” into the search box.)
The Center for Wooden Boats
A must-see for aquatic enthusiasts is the Center for Wooden Boats, a fun place for the family to learn about boats—on and off the water. The center refers to itself as a “living museum,” since visitors can take their historic wooden boats out for a quick sail. Free public boat rides are offered on Sundays. Tourists can also learn how to carve northern-style canoes from a Haida carver named Saaduuts, the artist in residence, who holds classes periodically just across the way in Lake Union Park as part of the Canoe Project, a partnership of the center, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation and Antioch University Seattle.
Come sail away at the Center for Wooden Boats (Center for Wooden Boats)