Tse-Whit-Zen: An Ancient Klallam Village Reclaimed… Territory Taken but not Forgotten
Authors: Arlene Wheeler and Barbara Leigh Smith
Tribes: Lower Elwha Klallam
This three-part interrupted case tells the story of an extraordinary archaeological find, the ancient tribal village, Tse-whit-zen, during the construction process replacing the Hood Canal Bridge. This case offers important insights on inter-governmental decision-making and cultural preservation. Part 1 of the case provides background on the Bridge replacement project and the early stages of the planning process. This part of the case is written largely from the point of view of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Part 2 is written from the standpoint of a member of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe as the discovery of the ancient village unfolded and everyone struggled with the impact of that discovery, trying to balance cultural considerations with the urgency surrounding the bridge replacement and the impact on the local economy. Part 3 of the case describes the most recent issues surrounding the case after the discovery of substantial numbers of human remains and the ensuring controversy about whether the project should be shut down.