The Seattle, Chief of the Suquamish, Statue was created in 1912 and commemorates the relationship between the American Indians of Puget Sound and the incoming European-American settlers. Around 1783, a Suquamish named Noah Sealth was born on Blake Island in Puget Sound. Reputedly a persuasive orator and leader, Sealth was chosen as an adult to be Chief of the tribe. Around 1850, he befriended Dr. David Maynard, a resident of the nearby Olympia community and convinced him to move to Elliot Bay. Through Maynard, Sealth met the three men now considered Seattle's original settlers, Carson Boren, William Bell and Arthur Denny. In 1855, Sealth led the American Indian council that ceded all of what is now Seattle to the United States. In spite of several years of friction between American Indians and incoming settlers, Sealth, still the leader of the Puget Sound tribes, managed to maintain friendly relationships with Maynard, Boren, Bell and Denny. Dr. Maynard urged his friends to honor the man who made peaceful settlement possible by naming their community after him. The pioneers agreed, mispronouncing the chief's name as "Seattle."
Local sculptor James Wehn created this meticulously researched bronze statue of Chief Sealth raising his right arm in greeting. Below the statue is a granite pedestal with two bronze bear head ornaments and a plaque reading "Seattle, Chief of the Suquamish, a firm friend of the whites, for whom the city of Seattle was named by its founders." Myrtle Loughery, Chief Sealth's great-great granddaughter, unveiled the finished sculpture on Founder's Day, November 13, 1912. Renovated in 1975, the Chief Sealth sculpture today presides over Tilikum Place, a park located in Northern Seattle.
The Seattle, Chief of the Suquamish, Sculpture is located at the southeastern corner of the Seattle Center at the intersection of Fifth Ave., Denny Way and Cedar St. The small park in which the sculpture is located, Tilkium Place, is open to the public.
Seattle, Chief of the Suquamish, Statue
Photograph by Lyle Bicknel
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