1st model of the wooden carving proposed to stand at Rosario Beach of the "Maiden of Deception Pass", (Ko-kwal-alwoot) done by Tracy Powell, wood carver from Swinomish reservation in LaConner, WA. One side of the carving is the maiden as a human, while the other side is when she was a mermaid.
The story as told by Martin J. Sampson: "At one time a portion of the Samish Tribe lived on the land which is now known as Rosario Beach. They were known as fish eaters and lived mostly on the fish, mussels, clams, and other sea food which abounded in the adjacent waters. They have told this story of "Ko-kwal-alwoot" who has been their inspiration throughout the years.
Ko-Kwal-woot" and other maidens were gathering sea food on the beach one day when one of the shellfish slipped from her grasp and fell into deeper water. She reached for it and it slipped from her again and again and she kept following it until she was in deep water, well over her waist. Suddenly she realized that what seened to be a hand had grasped hers and was holding her there. Terrified she attempted to free herself but a voice told her not to sturggle or be afraid, that she was very lovely and he was merely holding her there so that he could look upon her beauty. Soon her hand was released and she returned to her people.
After a number of such meetings during which the spirit held her hand longer and longer each time ans spoke soothingly to her, telling her of the many beautiful things which were in the sea, there came a day when a young man emerged from the water and accompanied her to her father's house to ask for her hand in marriage.
the people of the village knew not from whence he came or who he might be, but they noticed that in his presence they were chilled as though icy winds were blowing.
At first when he asked for 'Ko-kwal-alwoot's' hand her father was indignant and said: 'no, my daughter cannot go into the sea with you -- she would die.'
"On the contrary, " said the young man, "she will not die; we will give her eternal life and we will be very good to her, for I love her dearly."
Then he warned the father that if he could not have Ko-kwal-alwoot for his bride all the sea food would be taken from them and they would be very hungry, bjt the father still would not agree.
As time went on there was a great scarcity of food of all kinds and even the streams started to dry up so that they could have no water to drink.
When she could stand it no longer, Ko-kwal-alwoot went out into the water and called the young man; begging him to give her people food, but he replied: "Tell your father that only when you are my bride, will the waters teem with fish and your people many again live in plenty."
At last her father realizing that his people were starving, reluctantly agreed to give up his daughter so that the many members of his tribe might live. He made only one stipulation, however, and that was that she was to return to her people for a visit once each year, so that they could see if she was being well cared for and happy. This was agreed upon, and Ko-kwal-alwoot, wrapping her garments about her, walked into the water, farther and farther until she was out of sight and only her hair could be seen floating on the current."
Martin Sampson concludes with the statement, "The tribe believes that as the currents flow back and forth through Deception Pass her hair may be seen drifting gently with the tide and that she is always there to look out for the welfare of her people."
*from Fidalgo Magazine, page 3, October 1,1997
Story-pole raising and dedication ceremony was held at 10A.M. Saturday, September 24, 1983 at Rosario Beach in Deception Pass State Park
Rededication of the Samish Story Pole, held September 28, 2013.
|Dimensions||H-19 W-8 inches|
|Caption||Maiden of Deception Pass|
|Credit line||Donated by Bill Mitchell, June 2010|
Maiden of Deception Pass