Tribal elders have always taught the young people to respect nature’s gifts, to take only what they need and use all that they take. Tribal people depend on these gifts for food, trade, culture and survival. We have a unique relationship with natural resources and a deep understanding of the sciences, such as precise knowledge of ocean currents and tides, weather patterns and changes, natural medicines, marine biology and even engineering, as evidenced by complex fishing structures and equipment. Many tribal members continue to make their livelihood through salmon, geoduck and clam fisheries.
The strong connection between the seven inlets of South Puget Sound and the Squaxin Island Tribe – People of the Water – is the core theme that is presented in all exhibits and galleries throughout the MLRC. As a living eco-museum, the MLRC shows how nature and Squaxin Island Tribal culture relate. Key topics, such as our prehistoric and present day aquatics-centered lifestyles, timber/wild game harvest and management techniques, oral history and legends, the Treaty of Medicine Creek, religious practices and arts, all highlight this link with nature and the inland sea.
The Squaxin Island Museum Library and Research Center (MLRC) tells the story of the People of the Water through a series of exhibits and displays depicting the relationship between Squaxin Island Tribal members and the seven inlets of South Puget Sound. You may also experience our rich culture by participating in cultural activities and special events.
The hopes and dreams of our elders and those who have walked before us have come true through this magnificent facility. Our culture, past and present, is preserved for people of all generations. With a small, yet highly professional staff, the MLRC presents exhibits, lectures, films, tours, traditional skills workshops and educational outreach programs for students in local schools.
The MLRC also features a public library and a specialty gift shop specializing in Squaxin Island and other Native American art and literature.