Ground was broken yesterday on “The Gathering Place Monument” in Chief Garry Park, in eastern Spokane.
The monument will replace a totem pole installed in the park after the removal of the original Chief Garry Park statue, and will be a more “culturally appropriate” representation of the famous chief, says Jamie Sijohn, spokeswoman for the tribe.
“That totem pole has no cultural bearing on Garry and the Spokane tribe,” she says. “The totem pole comes from Western Washington tribes. It has nothing to do with Spokane tribe or Spokan Garry. We love the fact that there’s a park named after an important tribal member, but at the same time he needs to be honored culturally.”
The Spokane tribe has spent the last year fundraising to support a new memorial in honor of Chief Spokan Garry. With the support of local community groups, school coin drives and personal donations, the tribe was able to meet its fundraising goal of about $34,000 for materials. Work will be provided in part by volunteers.
When completed, the monument will feature a steel circular entrance representing the sun and will contain storyboards of information about Chief Garry and the Spokane tribe.
“I don’t think there is anything in that park that gives an idea of who the person is and what tribe he’s from, and that’s what this piece will help do, and help accomplish,” says Sijohn.