unknownpole-1webThe year ended with some exciting news, the last of the standing chapter totem poles was identified. The tall slender pole stands down the hill from the longhouse site and has been without a name for many years as its oral traditions faded. Longtime lodge member Tom Bingaman stepped forward and identified the pole as belonging to the Tillikum Chuck chapter. Tillikum Chuck means Water People. This chapter broke away from the Hyas Eena Chapter and served the Renton, Maple Valley and Tahoma School districts in the 1970s'. Later it was reabsorbed into the Hyas Eena Chapter and the history of the pole began to fade.

According to Mr. Bingaman who was the Chapter's adviser at the time of carving said the pole was donated by Baxter's Pole Yard, and was designed and carved by youth members of the chapter in the back yard of one of the members in Fairwood. No commercial paints were used, only natural dyes and paints available to the 1st peoples.

Since the opening of the E. Packard Longhouse, Chapters were encouraged to carve and raise their own totem poles. Over the past 40 years some have been lost, some survive and new ones have been raised. There are currently eight Chapter totem poles at the longhouse site.

The Tillikum Chuck pole is toped by an eagle holding two salmon in its talons. The great bird is catching the salmon from the bounty of the Cedar River, also the name of the district that Tillikum Chuck served. The Eagle is feeding the salmon to Frog, who represents man to some Pacific Northwest 1st peoples groups. The bottom figure is that of Beaver, the symbol of Hyas Eena, from which Tillikum Chuck split.

Today the area covered by Tillikum Chuck is serviced by Hyas Eena, and Wau Wau Talapus.

We want to give a special thanks to Tom Bingaman for stepping forward with this information and allowing the lodge to better understand its own history.

Even though all the poles have now been identified we are still looking for people to step forward with old photos of the longhouse site and its poles to put on the website. We want to make sure our history and traditions are preserved and then shared so that future generations of arrowmen can enjoy and understand them.

unkown-2-webA Chapter totem pole that is in good condition and still stands at the longhouse site remained unidentified until this past weekend. Several people had inklings of the origin of the pole but none were very confident of their information. Using the Lodge website, T'Kope Kwiskwis put a general call out there for T'Kope alumni to step forward and help provide some of the missing history of the Lodge, the Longhouse and its totem poles. Several totem poles were unidentified, that is until last weekend when former Lodge Chief Rod Field identified one of the poles.


The beautiful pole is crowned by an Orca over a man holding a copper. The bottom crest is a beaver. Mr. Field said the pole was raised during his tenure as Chapter Chief of the Kwahnice Chapter in 1972-73. Kwahnice was later merged into Teenas Chakchak, which serves the West Seattle, Burien and Des Moines areas.


Now that the Kwahnice pole has been named only one standing pole remains to be identified. Please see the related article to help reconstruct the lodge's history. Thank you to Mr. Field in already helping the lodge in our quest.





On November 15th 2008 over sixty members of the T'Kope Kwiskwis lodge, most who had never seen the old longhouse, cheerfully served at the longhouse site.  The primary focus was the rotation and proper winter storage of the Hillaire Entrance Pole. The pole is in great shape and is ready and waiting for a building to adorn. Members also moved the two old watchmen poles from their original site to new locations along the candidate trail. They were deemed too rotted and decayed to be used with the new building but will now gracefully age at key spots to heighten new members' experience while approaching the Longhouse site.


Several arrowmen also brushed and cleared the candidate trail. While still others planned and created a new trail to circumvent a logging skid that destroyed a section of the old trail. The newly created gully needed to be either crossed or bypassed. The decision was made to bypass; and the work was completed at the work party.


2009fellowship008On the Saturday morning of the Spring Fellowship in June of 2009 members of the T'Kope Kwiskwis lodge finished placing two welcoming figures along the candidate trail that will lead to the new longhouse. The three part project started in November at Inductions weekend when members moved the poles from the longhouse site to near their final locations. Then at the May Ordeal a small team of dedicated longhouse enthusiasts poured the concrete and set the metal bracers. Finally at Fellowship mostly youth members did the final positioning and raising of the now welcoming figures.


The first is 10 yards from the road, on a corner of the path, just at a spot where the longhouse reveals it's self to the hiker, directly behind the pole. The second one is at the top of the switch back of the old access road where the candidate trail continues up the hill. The next time you are up at Camp Pigott check out the new monuments.

The poles themselves used to adorn each side of the old Packard Longhouse. They sat 8' off the ground on poles and rose above the roof line. However time and weather took their toll on the Watchmen. They were severely rotted and decayed and were deemed too lost to be re-used on the new building, unlike the main entrance pole. The lodge then decided to use them along the candidate trail and let them age gracefully rather than abandoning our two friends.2009fellowship014

We wished to thank everyone involved with the project; including the 60 arrowmen that helped in November, the handful in May, and all the participants of Spring Fellowship, and especially Dave Wilding (LTI) and Joel Delecruz (WWT) who acted as technical advisers at the various stages of the mission.

With the plans by the ready we are headed to our goal of building the new longhouse at Camp Pigott, but first we need your help. Please consider making a donation to the Lodge's Longhouse fund. We are especially looking for in kind donations for construction materials, equipment and construction expertise. The architecture plans, the engineering and the the permits are all being donated, so we have made a huge first step. Help us continue the journey  consider a donation today.

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