A new Exhibit on Sasquatch Opens in Auburn on July 11, 2018:

Sasquatch: Ancient Native Perspectives
on the Mysterious Beings of the Woods

“In the mountains live many giants…who look almost the same as humans. They are great thieves.…The giants can often be heard at night. Even if their whistling sounds far off, it is certain that they are close.”

– Quinault Native, Bob Pope as recorded by anthropologist Ronald Olson in 1925

The White River Valley Museum’s new exhibit, Sasquatch: Ancient Native Perspectives on the Mysterious Beings of the Woods, opens July 11, 2018. It examines ancient Native oral histories documenting the possible presence of mysterious humanoid beings that live deep within the Pacific Northwest forests.

Visitors immerse themselves in four story depictions told by Native elders to early anthropologists. Many Native people of today are hesitant to speak about the mysterious beings of the woods, because saying their name may call them to you. In an effort to respect others’ beliefs and privacy, the curators have not interviewed any contemporary people about this subject—instead have relied upon words of elders long past. Most of those elders were born before 1880, so their oral histories reach far back in time.

Visitors are immersed in the settings of mysterious beings like:

Dzoonokwa  (pronounced zoo-no-kwa) – a dark-haired forest giant (most accounts speak of a female) identified for millennia by Native people on Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland. She is known to steal children that wander too far from home.

Sasquatch – usually seen individually, not in groups and described as a human-like giant covered in dark fur with footprints about 20 inches long. The Sasquatch has a touch that renders individuals unconscious.

Stick Indians  – wild humanoids known as tricksters. They are little people who steal and can make neighbors lives difficult many ways if they choose.

Slapu – known by Native people from the Clallam area as a giantess who steals children and smoked salmon, and is reason to stay in at night!

Upper S’Klallam artist and storyteller Roger Fernandes’s artwork forms the foundation of the exhibit.  Exhibit settings come alive with spoken quotes from anthropological records. In addition to depictions there are Native masks, oral histories, and maps assembled to describe the deep traditional history of these mysterious beings of the woods.  A fascinating analysis of 21 traits of the mysterious beings from more than one dozen Northwest native tribes describes how the commonly reported traits differ among the populations. Traits include:  Size (a giant / 7+ ft tall), Nocturnal, Hairy, Fast Moving, Whistles, Steals Food, Women and/or Children, Causes Unconsciousness, Makes Viewer Crazy, Kills or tricks People, Has a Spike or knife-like Toe Nail.

The exhibit is sponsored by: 4Culture, Hugh & Jane Ferguson Foundation, and the Tulalip Tribe Charity Fund,

Exhibit is Open Through December 16, 2018.

Upcoming Exhibit Events:

  • July 10, 6pm – FREE Press Preview
  • August 2, 7pm – FREE (no registration but space is limited)
    Native Storytelling with Roger Fernandes
    Recommended Ages: 7 and up
  • September 6 at 6pm– FREE (no registration but space is limited)
    Big Foot Does Not Like Birthday Parties Story and Song Time with Eric Ode
    Recommended Ages: 3 and up
  • November 1, 6-8pm – FREE (no registration but space is limited)
    Sasquatch themed Snack & Paint
    Recommended Ages:  5 and up
  • November 3, 2-3pm – $6 per child, ages 7 -12 (pre-registration required)
    Creature Classification with Point Defiance Zoo
  • December 8, 2pm – Included with regular museum admission or membership
    Sasquatch: Man-Ape or Myth? Lecture with David George Gordon
    Recommended Ages:  12 and up

About the White River Valley Museum:
The White River Valley Museum creates an exciting and educational experience for visitors through a series of award-winning exhibits and programs on regional cultures, arts and history. The Museum’s artifact collections focus on Puget Sound history, Northwest Native culture, Japanese immigration and the Northern Pacific Railway.

The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. On the first Thursday of each month the hours are extended from 6 to 8 p.m. It is located at 918 H St. S.E. in Auburn. Regular admission is $5 adults, $2 seniors and children, children 2 years of age or younger are always free.  Admission is free for everyone all day on the first Thursday and the third Sunday of every month.

Call 253-288-7433 or visit www.wrvmuseum.org for event information.

White River Valley Museum is located at 918 H St. SE in Auburn:

Scott Schaefer

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