A short boat ride away from Seattle, WA is Tillicum Village located on Blake Island State Park.
Blake Island is a 475-acre park nestled between Bainbridge and Vashon Islands in Puget Sound. Tillicum Village covers about 5 acres of the 475-acre Blake Island. Blake Island was the birthplace of Chief Sealth for whom Seattle was named.
Tillicum Village is part Native cultural center, part dinner theatre and became a major tourist attraction in 1962. The village was owned and operated by the Hewitt family who sold the operation to Argosy Cruises who often provided transport to the island over the past 47 years. The idea behind the village was a way to celebrate the culture of Native Americans and include creative outlets for Native crafts, song, dance and art. Although the family was not Native, it was said that Bill Hewitt wanted to give recognition to Native Americans and their contributions to society. Mr. Hewitt struck a deal with the Parks Commission and under the agreement Mr. Hewitt was allowed to build a longhouse and village on Blake Island.
Bill Hewitt operated the Tillicum Village longhouse for over 40 years and his baked salmon became a Puget Sound institution that was shared with heads of state including President Bill Clinton in 1993 and during the 1970s, President Carter sent the National Governor's Conference for a visit along with King Olaf of Norway.
Spectacular views of the Seattle skyline, Bainbridge Island and Mount Rainier can be seen along the walking paths of the island. For an opportunity to experience Native American culture eight miles away from downtown Seattle, Tillicum Village is worth the visit.