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25 Jun


House of Respect – New Elder Center Celebrates Puyallup Tribe’s Tradition and Culture

June 25, 2011 | By |

Located on a historically significant site above the Puyallup River in Tacoma, a $10 million tribally-funded center for elders was recently completed, fulfilling a long-time dream for many tribal members. With views of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains, the center offers spaces to learn, interact, and relax in indoor and outdoor activity spaces. The facility includes banquet rooms, administrative offices, lounge and library, a Hall of Elders for traditional art display, and a health and wellness center with hydrotherapy pool, spa, sauna, steam rooms, and a traditional healing room.

Nakano Associates Puyallup Elders Center

The design was a collaborative effort with the Tribe’s Elders Advisory Committee, department staff, and the Tribal Council. In keeping with the elders’ desire for a project that supports their commitment to the environment, the facility includes several sustainable landscape features. A 12,000 square foot green roof of colorful drought-tolerant plantings is patterned after traditional weaving designs. A Spirit Garden on the sunny south side of the building has components representing the Puyallups’ traditional tribal territory: a forested hillside of native plants, a cascading water feature, a small wetland area, and gathering spaces with a salmon grilling pit for group events. The generous patio provides outdoor tables, chairs and benches adjacent to the classrooms, lounge, and banquet room.


Beautifully hand-carved and painted cedar benches by local native artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo are located on the accessible path around the south lawn, encouraging visitors to enjoy the landscaping, views, and water feature within the Spirit Garden.

The grand opening was celebrated with ceremony, traditionally grilled salmon, and visiting dignitaries. Here is a link to a tribal video about the House of Respect. You can also read more about Andrea Wilbur-Sigo at: