X̌ʷəlč is "Salish Sea, saltwater" in Lushootseed. The "Protecting the x̌ʷəlč: Indigenous Stewardship of the Salish Sea" exhibit illuminates how water is intertwined in every aspect of living. At the exhibit, you'll see how Northwest Washington’s tribal communities have lived on and with the region’s waterways and their resources. Exhibit highlights include: Edward S. Curtis images, photographs taken by and of Native people, waterway restoration projects, maps, narrative and poetry. The exhibit will be on display from Friday, June 15 to Thursday, Aug. 30 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 8 Gallery, 206-386-4636.


Northwest Washington’s tribal communities have long recognized the importance of water and water-based resources in sustaining life in this region. Come explore how the sea and the rivers, and the wealth of resources in them—the salmon, whales, tule and shellfish—are important to the region's tribes and the work they are doing to protect those resources for future generations.

The exhibit is curated by Shannon Kopelva (Hopi/Hualapai/Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone) and Jennifer Ott. Kopelva earned her M.A. in Museology from the University of Washington and is currently project coordinator for the "Beyond the Frame—To Be Native" initiative. Ott is the assistant director of HistoryLink.org and an environmental historian who has explored how people have shaped, and been shaped by, landscapes across the Northwest.


Salmon and the Salish Sea: Stories and Sovereignty - 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave, Level 1, Microsoft Auditorium, 206-386-4636. Come at 6:30 p.m. to explore the exhibit in the Library’s Level 8 Gallery, where exhibit curators will be on hand to answer questions and share insights. The program starts at 7 p.m. This panel discussion merges storytelling with a discussion of current issues to examine the role of salmon in the lives of Coast Salish peoples. Panel members will include:

  • Charlotte Cote (Tseshaht/Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation)
  • Valerie Segrest (Muckleshoot)
  • Susan Balbas (Cherokee and Yaqui Nations)
  • Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha Band S’Klallam)


Library events and exhibits are free and everyone is welcome. Tickets and reservations are not required to visit the exhibit.

This exhibit is part of Beyond the Frame--To Be Native, a community-wide initiative revisiting the photographs of Edward S. Curtis and sparking conversations on Native identity, race and resilience, art and culture.


This exhibit is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and Gary Kunis.