Northwind Fishing Weir Legend
Green River Trail
A Dxʷdəwʔabš (Duwamish) myth takes shape in a series of cedar panels.
Six carved cedar planks line a stretch of the Green River Trail in Tukwila, WA, where they retell the Dxʷdəwʔabš legend of the Northwind Fishing Weir. Passed from generation to generation through oral tradition, the story recounts the battle of North Wind and South Wind. In it, an ice weir —or low river dam—created by North Wind blocks the salmon and starves the people of South Wind until South Wind’s son and his grandmother set the river free. Legend also has it that the bedrocks revealed during low tide in the Duwamish River are the remnants of this weir.Each of the panels in Coast Salish artist Susan Point’s Northwind Fishing Weir Legend represent different characters in the story: Southwind and Mountain Beaver Woman; Northwind and Warriors; Ice Fish Weir and Salmon; Sq'u'l'ats, mother of Southwind; Stormwind, son of Mountain Beaver Woman; and Northwind with Mountain Beaver Woman. The carvings are shaped like the planks once used by Dxʷdəwʔabš shamans to visit recovering souls in the land of the dead. The concrete shells that surround the planks echo the traditional Salish whale form.