Malynn FosterTamela LaClairKimberly Deriana

Artists Malynn Foster, Tamela LaClair and Kimberly Deriana, working as a team, were selected as the artists for the Salish Steps. The artists, who represent both local tribes and Urban Natives, will work with the design team to develop a permanent artwork that will help to elevate the importance of Indigenous culture and history to the site.

This weaver on the Skokomish Reservation in 1095 is seen with twilled cedar bark and cross-warp cedar root baskets. Photo by Asahel Curtis, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society
This weaver on the Skokomish Reservation in 1095 is seen with twilled cedar bark and cross-warp cedar root baskets. Photo by Asahel Curtis, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society | Click to enlarge

Artist Statement

Artist Influence - We hope to create a piece that welcomes people into the heart of our culture. By honoring our ancestors' teachings and encouraging the resilience of our future generations, we strive to highlight our relationship to all beings, how we are all connected and most importantly, that all life is sacred.

The first home for any human being, in the woman's womb, is water. We are closely connected to the impacts we see on the land and water. As matriarchs, we create life within our own bodies and we want to protect our homelands and future generations, because we have an inherent, innate connection to the creation of life. It’s the grandmother, mothers, caretakers, nurturers in our nation who are carrying forward our societal roles, as protectors for our children. The Salish steps represent the sacred life; Generations Rising.

'Kaya' Louisa Pulsifer. Photo courtesy of Native Nations Museum Mobile
"Kaya" Louisa Pulsifer. Photo courtesy of Native Nations Museum Mobile

This artwork will be located on the lower level of the Overlook Walk in a location known as the Salish Steps, which connects the lower portion of this new pedestrian bridge to the promenade. These amphitheater-style steps not only provide access to the waterfront and views of Elliott Bay, but they also provide a space for entertainment and community activities.

'Kaya' Louisa Pulsifer was born in 1882 in the last cedar longhouse on the Hood Canal.
"Kaya" Louisa Pulsifer was born in 1882 in the last cedar longhouse on the Hood Canal.
She is credited with saving the Twana language and preserving tribal customs and basketry skills. Photo courtesy of Native Nations Museum Mobile

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together… All things connect."
– Chief Seattle

Louisa Pulsifer 'With Her Baskets', 1958. Randy Foster age 2 weaving a soft twined basket of cattail and sweetgrass; Completed sweetgrass and cattail soft twined basket by Malynn Foster
Louisa Pulsifer "With Her Baskets", 1958. Photo by Charles K. Peck courtesy of Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections; Randy Foster age 2 weaving a soft twined basket of cattail and sweetgrass; Completed sweetgrass and cattail soft twined basket by Malynn Foster