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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Dream Comes To Life For Tribe: New School Officially Opens
by Robert Whale - Auburn (WA) Reporter News reporter

Since 1985, the Muckleshoot Tribal School has met in the tribe's community center, far from the best place for it be.

But with the grand opening this week of the new Muckleshoot Tribal School, kids have their own place with plenty of elbow room and all the modern trimmings.

Tribal members and local and state dignitaries gathered Wednesday morning to hear speeches, listen to tribal songs and watch the ribbon cutting on the sparkling new, 107,000-square-foot school about a mile from the Cooper's Corner turnoff from State Route 164.

“This dream has been a dream of decades,” said Joseph Martin, assistant tribal operations manager for education.

Dignitaries present to help launch the school included members of the Muckleshoot Tribal Council, Auburn School District Superintendent Kip Herren, State Sens. Claudia Kauffman and Pam Roach, Attorney General Rob McKenna and Gov. Christine Gregoire.

The school consists of a main administration and elementary building, a middle school building, a high school building and a gymnasium-cafeteria building.

Among the amenities are a library, two gymnasiums, computer labs, occupational educational facilities, a shop, a media production center, athletics fields to support football, track, soccer, softball and baseball, a covered play area for small children and nature and interpretive trails.

In addition to general academics, the school will offer a Whultshoot seed language program and an extensive native cultural program. It can support a student population of 400 students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Muckleshoot Tribe jointly funded the multi-million dollar project.

Tribal Chairwoman Charlotte Williams spoke with deep emotion.

"Having a tribal school where classroom instruction can be infused with native culture, the Wultshootseed language and history has been a dream of the tribe for many years, and today that dream becomes a reality," said Williams.

"These beautiful buildings, this wonderful campus represent so much more than simply a new structure, much more than just another tribal project," Williams added. "These buildings represent the culmination of years of planning and hard work and steadfast dedication of the past and current tribal council, the past and current school board, the past and current students and their families."

Gregoire later put her arm around Williams, a fellow member of the Auburn High School graduating class of 1965.

"Back in high school, how many of you actually thought I'd be governor and she'd be chair? Our teachers didn't think that," said Gregoire, drawing laughter.

"…This is a great day for our children, this is a great day for the Muckleshoot Tribe. The central part of most of our communities is the school. It is the heart and soul of a community, and that's exactly what this school is going to be here — the heart and soul of this community," Gregoire said.

As the governor spoke, the happy squeals of children on the playground could already be heard.

Auburn Reporter News reporter Robert Whale can be reached at or 253-833-0218, ext. 5052.

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