Evergreen State College
The official Squaxin Island tribal flag flying next to the U.S. and Washington state flags, after an official June 23 ceremony at Evergreen's Olympia campus. Photo courtesy: The Evergreen State College

Submitted by The Evergreen State College

In a ceremony commemorated by tribal drums, songs and dances, The Evergreen State College raised the official flag of the Squaxin Island Tribe on June 23 as a permanent acknowledgment of the deep history and ongoing connection between the tribe and the college.

Evergreen State College
Squaxin Island Tribal Council Chair Kris Peters speaks at the June 23 ceremonial raising of the Squaxin flag at The Evergreen State College. Photo courtesy: The Evergreen State College

Flying on its own pole next to the U.S. and Washington State flags at the entrance to Evergreen’s Olympia campus, the formal presence of the tribal flag reminds visitors of the original Squaxin stewards of the land and waterways of the region.

“This goes well beyond a traditional land acknowledgment,” said former State Senator and Chair of the Evergreen Board of Trustees Karen Fraser. “It’s a commitment to an ongoing physical acknowledgment for all to see and appreciate when they come and go from campus. Evergreen has great appreciation for the people of the Squaxin Island Tribe.”

Squaxin Island Tribal Council Chair Kris Peters, who holds a master’s in administration and an undergraduate degree from Evergreen, highlighted his personal connection to the 1000-acre campus and the historic presence of Squaxin ancestors. Peters praised the college for its support of Native college students and the quality of its courses and programs.

The in-person ceremony was also attended by Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby and Olympia city council members.

“We are deeply proud of those Squaxin graduates from Evergreen who have become accomplished leaders of their tribe, of their professions, and of the state of Washington,” said Evergreen President George Bridges. “We hope this dedication and flag-raising strengthens our ties and opens new possibilities for partnership.”

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