Marie Louie Paddle Has Arrived at Tibbetts Beach
This installation is part of a project honoring Snoqualmie elder Xa-cha-blu, usually known as Marie Louie, born about 1800 in the village of Toltx, now the town of Carnation. She lived most of her life on the east shore of Lake Sammamish, and traveled by canoe and on foot between Seattle and the Cascade mountains. She helped Native and immigrant women in childbirth, gathering and administering plant medicines.
The sculpture is faithful to the style of paddles used for many generations on the rivers and saltwater of the Puget Sound basin. The paddle is situated handle down because it is onshore where the blade should not be allowed to touch the ground. Thus, it is a symbol of the interface between life on shore and life on the water, both worlds that would have been very familiar to Marie Louie.
Paddles are also raised in salute, especially when coming to shore, often seen during landing protocols in the modern Canoe Journey culture. The journal of George Vancouver, commanding the first European expedition into Puget Sound, describes canoes coming to meet his ship Discovery and pausing while the Native Americans sang to the visitors, keeping time by tapping the handles of their raised paddles on the gunnels of their craft. The traditional name for the beach where the sculpture is sited, twh-skale-ahl-shoothl, refers to a canoe lookout place.
It will remain in place throughout the rest of the summer.
The installation was completed with the generous help of Pile King, who anchored the sculpture in the sand.