To honor their veterans and provide a place to reflect, dream, share, and heal, the Squaxin Island Tribe asked Nakano Associates to help create a unified landscape vision that expresses their values. On a forested site between the Elders Center and Tribal Museum, the Veterans Memorial is anchored by a small ceremonial gathering space representing Squaxin Island, the symbolic heart of the Squaxin Island Tribe who are also known as the People of the Water.
Seven water pools, representing the Tribe’s traditional lands comprised of seven watersheds in south Puget Sound, radiate out from the center space. Each water pool is a setting for a cluster of bronze paddles, each bearing the name of a veteran. A carved wood house post portal created by tribal artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo marks the entrance to the gathering space.
Informal paths meander through the pools and native landscape, with benches for resting and quiet contemplation. The Veterans Committee brought home a large petroglyph boulder that was originally found on Harstene Island and is now sited on the memorial grounds. Other elements include a flag plaza and interpretive displays with oral history storytelling and plant names in the Lushootseed language.
Location: Shelton, Washington
Client: Squaxin Island Tribe
Artist: Andrea Wilbur-Sigo