Wendy Call (BFA in Creative Writing faculty) recently launched a map/place-based literary project that contains a collection of Sqebeqsed Stories. Wendy shares that these are the stories of Southeast Seattle’s Seward Park, home to the city’s last old-growth forest.
Wendy notes that “place is a story happening many times,” or so say the Kwakiutl people of coastal British Columbia. Wendy states that “Seward Park is stories happening over and over, many at once. People come here to celebrate, congregate, meditate, race, run, walk, swim, climb, picnic, play, reflect, relax, make art, learn, unlearn, unwind. This place has sustained local residents for ten thousand years.”
Her dynamic and informative website notes that “before it was named ‘Seward Park’ a century ago, this forested peninsula jutting into Lake Washington was known as ‘Sqebeqsed,’ or ‘fat nose’ in the local language, Lushootseed. And so Seward Park Stories are Sqebeqsed Stories.”
Wendy has collected and shares stories about life in Sqebeqsed and the many lives that intersect with it, both human and non-human, present and past. She has created and curated her work in collaboration with photographer G. Thomas Bancroft, researcher Christina Montilla, web developer Seth Vincent, and many others who love Sqebeqsed.
The project was made possible by an Individual Artist grant from 4Culture, with in-kind support from Friends of Seward Park and the Seward Park Audubon Center. Wendy offers this as a creative and critically important use of story as research and a way against forgetting an important place and people.
Learn more at sewardparkstories.org.
Note: an abridgment of this story appears in the article, “Is Activism Dead?” in the Clockworks Fall/Winter 2015 issue on page 10.