On June 1, 2022, Seattle Children’s opened the doors to our new Forest B building – the latest addition to the Seattle Children’s hospital campus.
When Seattle Children’s began planning for the Forest B building 10 years ago, we wanted to formally recognize that the hospital is located on the traditional land of the Coast Salish people through an art installation in the lobby. We sought out an artist with a deep understanding of the Pacific Northwest and a whimsical style that patients and families could connect with. We were lucky to find Shaun “Qwalsius” Peterson, who has been creating public art inspired by the Puyallup people’s heritage and the greater Pacific Northwest region for more than 20 years. Qwalsius designed, carved and erected a Story Pole in the Forest B lobby that will now be enjoyed by all the patients, families and workforce members who walk through our doors for decades to come.
Qwalsius’s Story Pole is comprised of a collective of animals and natural elements, all with their own individual contributions to a bigger picture. The characteristics of the pole have been key elements of stories that have been part of Coast Salish storytelling for generations and provide insight into the natural environment. For instance, the baby eagle at the top reminds us that the building was created for children, and the raccoon is known among Native peoples for its characteristic mask and for always washing its hands.
Prior to officially opening the Forest B doors, Seattle Children’s was honored to host a Story Pole Community Blessing in partnership with Qwalsius, his family, tribal members from throughout the region and representatives from our Indigenous workforce. The event allowed us to not only unveil the Story Pole and thank Qwalsius for his incredible work, but also celebrate Native heritage and the next phase of growth at Children’s to meet the pediatric care needs of families in the region.
Learn more about Forest B here: https://pulse.seattlechildrens.org/seattle-childrens-opens-the-new-front-door-to-the-hospital/