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House of Healing 
western washington university

The vision for a Coast Salish longhouse on Western’s campus originated from the Native American Student Union and is the result of decades of dialogue among students, faculty, and campus administrators. To honor that commitment and ensure the vision is fully realized, the project has ambitious goals, including a design targeting net zero carbon emissions, low impact development site design strategies, high Native-owned and MWBE participation, use of locally sourced material and products in construction, and active participation by student groups, Coast Salish Tribes, and the local community throughout design and construction.

 

The resulting House of Healing will include a gathering hall that supports educational, community, and cultural functions; a teaching/warming kitchen; student lounges; and other support services. The outdoor spaces will include gathering areas, an outdoor kitchen, and educational gardens with native plantings that will be used in teaching indigenous science, art, and medicine. The House of Healing will reflect traditional Coast Salish architecture and design and will serve as a fathering and ceremonial space for Native students, as well as Coast Salish tribal nations throughout the Salish Sea region. Western’s House of Healing will stand as a landmark for Native people, validating WWU’s commitment to addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

 

The House of Healing will serve as an educational center to promote cultural exchange and supportive understanding for the communities served by the University. One goal is to recruit, retain, and support the matriculation of Native American students at WWU. The Coast Salish people have long understood the importance of collective healing in response to shared historical trauma, as well as holding the power of traditional and cultural practices in order to overcome hardship. By acknowledging the past trauma and suffering of Indigenous people and all ethnic groups, as well as the grief and suffering caused by the global pandemic and current economic crises, the House of Healing will benefit the recovery process for all people to continue on a road to recovery. It is expected to open in Summer 2025.

Type: Higher Ed + Community / Cultural           Client: Western Washington University

Location: Bellingham, WA                                  Project Lead: Kathi Williams
 

News / Press:
Construction of Western’s House of Healing longhouse to begin this summe

WWU hosts Ceremony for Bellingham’s first contemporary style longhouse

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