While many in the Pacific Northwest are aware of the connection between ourselves and the indigenous peoples of the region, few realize just how strong of a relationship we still have. From city, river and mountain names to art work, the Seattle Region celebrates the native cultures much more than other locations around America. While we all can agree we could have an even better relationship with those who first called this place home, each day we discover something new about our bond with the people and the region.
With Seahawks fever rolling through town, causing patients to yell uncontrollably and become blue and green, few stop to think about the origin of the logo for the Seattle Seahawks. The logo, now one of the more recognizable images of Seattle, is much older and much more in tune with the history and the culture of the region than many of us know. However, thanks to the Burke Museum in Seattle, we now see the image that might just be responsible for the birth of the current Seahawks logo.
The logo, which debuted in 1975, was originally drawn by a Quinault artist and was heavily influenced by the indigenous forms of art that are easily recognized as being from the Pacific Northwest. In fact, when the NFL and team chose a final version, it ended up looking extremely similar to an old mask that was published in 1950 in Robert Bruce Inverarity’s book, Art of the Northwest Coast Indians.
Looking at the image above, it is hard to argue that the design and inspiration for the Seahawks wasn’t taken from this mask. While the mask itself wasn’t from the Quinault Tribe, the connection to the regions history is undeniable. Looking at the logo, it makes us wonder what the original mask was used for and increases my interest in local, historical art.
It is interesting to see the use of indigenous art become so widespread without getting the proper respect for inspiring, so hopefully, as you watch the Seahawks game, you look a little closer at the logo and feel pride for not just the team or the city, but for the region and the history. The team has brought this area together, so lets celebrate the present, the future and the past.
More info on this story: http://burkemuseum.blogspot.com/2014/01/in-search-of-true-inspiration-for.html#.Uu6Gw_lKiuJ
Another take on this story: http://olywa.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-time-when-king-county-arts.html
SEE WHAT THE SEAHAWKS LOGO WOULD BE IF IT WAS DESIGNED USING THE SALISH FORM OF ART
Video created by: Contemporary Coast Salish artist Shaun Peterson