As Homelessness Rises in Seattle, So Does a Native American Housing Solution (CityLab)

The building is named ʔálʔal, which means “home” in Lushootseed, a Native American language of the Coast Salish people in the Seattle area. (It’s pronounced “all-all.”) Set to open in October 2021, the eight-story housing project will be built with the housing needs of one distinct community in mind — Native Americans, who in the Seattle area are seven times more likely than whites to be living in homelessness, according to a 2017 Seattle Human Services report.

Most of the building’s 80 studio apartments will be for the homeless, with 10 reserved for veterans and another 10 for extremely low-income households. Each of the building’s floors will be named after traditional medicines, such as Sage and Yarrow Root, and covered in Coast Salish art. The ground floor will feature a traditional Native café, resourced by a local farm. There will also be a primary care health clinic run by the Seattle Indian Health Board. Outside, a 25-foot wooden statue of a Native mother with her hands raised will welcome residents and visitors.

The figure and the building are designed to send this message: “You have been out there struggling for so long, but in this place, you are going to find welcome, you are going to find security, you are going to find people who love you and appreciate you as a native person,” says Colleen Echohawk, executive director of Chief Seattle Club. Founded in 1970, the Seattle-based nonprofit works to support the city’s American Indian and Alaska Native residents by providing everything from food and housing assistance to legal help.

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Outrage at video showing child who was maced by police at Seattle protest (The Guardian)

Standing among a group of peaceful anti-racism protesters in downtown Seattle on a recent Saturday afternoon, Mando Avery held his seven-year-old son’s hand as he and three generations of his African American family finished a prayer with members of their church.

Only feet away, Evan Hreha, 34, a hairstylist, arrived at the protests alone.

That was when, Avery said, out of nowhere, a police officer fired mace at the group. It hit his son square in the face.

As the young boy screamed and clutched on to his father, Hreha caught it all on camera. He confronted the officer he believed had maced the boy and told him the footage was going online. He then posted it on social media.

The footage captures the outrage of protesters after the boy is maced who demand to know why police sprayed a child with the chemical irritant, and made no attempt to help.

Since then, Hreha has been arrested and spent two days in jail for what some are calling police retribution for a video which went viral. The young boy is still traumatized, reeling from the chemical burn on his cheek and asking his parents what he did to deserve it.

“I would say that you were targeting my boy,” Avery told the Guardian, asked what he would say to police.

“I don’t know if you were trying to set an example and strike fear into him. You did a great job.”

What upsets him most, Avery said, is that officers and a group of emergency medical technicians standing about a block away did not step in to help.

“No officer, who’s paid to protect, chose to stand up, break the ranks, go help this child,” he said.

“I just don’t understand how any of them can sleep.”

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Photo by Steve Kaiser


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