Red Eagle Soaring was founded in 1991 and currently serves about 100-120 youth per year ages 10-19, with an alumni program for adults.
Indigenous performances and stories were amplified across the Seattle waterfront Sunday as tourists milled about and visitors to Hempfest went to and from Myrtle Edwards Park.
Red Eagle Soaring, a Native youth theater program based in Seattle since 1991, and performers from “yəhaw̓,” an ongoing Indigenous-led arts project, took the ‘Hot Spot’ stage at Pier 58 near the Seattle Great Wheel through the afternoon.
The nonprofit Friends of Waterfront Seattle have had all different types of performance artists come to the waterfront — but this was the first time for theater, since the noise of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is now gone.
Ken Workman, member of the Duwamish tribe and descendant of Chief Seattle, presented the invocation for the performance in both English and the Lushootseed language. He spoke of how his grandfather welcomed settlers to the land of the Duwamish.
“Look down under your feet at these planks today,” Workman said, as he motioned to the floor of the old pier. “All of this wood came from here.”
“The ancient ones that have passed, they all get pulled up into the trees through the roots,” Workman said, citing a speech attributed to Chief Seattle before the signing of the Treaty of Point Elliott.
“What my grandfather said, that the dead aren’t entirely powerless, is true… In these old buildings, the ghosts of the Duwamish people continue to live.”
Nicole Suyama, singer, program manager for Red Eagle Soaring and descendant of the Inupiaq tribe in Alaska, sang and drummed a variety of Native songs. During her version of an intertribal song from Alaska, she called up members of various tribes by name from the audience, to join her in dance.
The dancers raised their hands, shuffling their feet, making circles around the old wooden planks of the waterfront, to the beat of her drum.
Check out redeaglesoaring.org for more information, and join them for “Killer Whale and the Black Rush,” a new play by Dylan Thomas Elwood, at the ACT Theatre in Downtown Seattle this Friday, August 23, 2019 at 8:00PM. Entrance is free.