Tulalip Tribes' Hibulb Cultural Center opens to the public on Aug. 20

TULALIP — The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve will open its doors to the general public at noon on Aug. 20.

"It was the vision of the Tulalip people to build a cultural center where we could gather as a community to share our knowledge and stories with one another, a place where we could rediscover our traditions together, a place that offers our children an educational experience so that they can carry our culture into the future," Tulalip Tribal Chair Mel Sheldon Jr. said. "Now the time has come when we can also share with the surrounding community our own story in our own words, so that visitors can learn in a place that truly expresses the spirit of the Tulalip people."

The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve have been designed to deepen Tulalip Tribal membership participation and awareness of Tribal traditions. With a 23,000-square-foot cultural center, a 10,000-square-foot collections wing and a 42-acre natural history preserve, current and future generations can share in the culture of the Tulalip people. Part of the center's mission is to ensure a sense of pride, permanence and future in the hearts and minds of its membership.

"We have dreamt about this day for many years," said Hank Gobin, director of the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve. "Words cannot express the joy we feel that our cultural center is open and ready to educate and inform the Tulalip community, and the world, about our vibrant culture. While our priority will be helping our Tulalip youth and membership with the rediscovery of our traditions, values and life-ways, we will share our dream with everyone. With our service to the community, we hope to remove stereotypes and barriers, and to promote more understanding and respect for our history, traditions and future direction."

Thirty years ago, Tulalip Tribal elders had a vision for a cultural center and museum that would assist young Tribal members in learning their traditions and history, a place where cultural classes in weaving, carving, language and other traditions would be offered to Tribal members, and a space that would allow the Tulalip people to share their journey with the world. Following the initial development of the collections facility in 2008, phase two construction began on the museum. Phase three will focus on restoration and enhancement of the 42-acre natural history preserve, an outdoor extension of the museum and collections facility.

Behind the scenes at the Hibulb Cultural Center, the curations facility features a fully certified collections and archeological repository, as well as staff for field work in archaeology and reparations. It is the only tribal facility certified by the state of Washington. Reflecting the Tulalip Tribes' commitment to a more proactive role in protecting historic sites and burials, the curation facility is entrusted with the responsibility of managing historic tribal artifacts and burials that are discovered throughout Puget Sound.

The Natural History Preserve, which is 5 percent complete, will benefit from the assistance of partnerships between the community and other institutions and organizations. The center will seek funding to finance the Tulalip Tribes' vision for the preserve, which includes large-scale environmental restoration projects, walking paths, an observation platform to look over the estuary, a totemic sculpture garden, visiting artists accommodations, a carving shed, a canoe storage facility and various gardens that will supply food and medicine to Tribal members.

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