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Washington Corrections Center ‘Tribal Sons’ Knit Hats for Members of Skokomish Tribe

January 16, 2018

By Stella Jennings

Washington Corrections Center

Two male inmates

Inmates Eric Adamczewski (left) and Jay Powell (right). The men are members of the Tribal Sons group at Washington Corrections Center. (Stella Jennings, Custody Unit Supervisor)

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SHELTON – Inmates who are members of the Native American group known as the “Tribal Sons” at the Washington Corrections Center, recently knitted 21 hats for elder members of the Skokomish Indian Tribe.

As of December 2017, 18 inmates comprise the group. Some of the materials are donated from the community.

Inmates Jay Powell, who is Squaxin, and Eric Adamczewski, who is Apache and Pima, said the Tribal Sons “gave from their hearts their time as an opportunity to give back and have a positive impact on a local tribal community.” Many members of the group expressed they felt honored to make the hats for the Skokomish elders.

Prison staff said through this opportunity, the inmates learned a new skill and hope the donation will be the start of a relationship with the Skokomish Tribe. Staff say the inmates hope their learning and commitment to involvement with tribal communities outside prison will inspire them to become positive and productive members of their own communities upon release.

Awareness and appreciation of cultural representation within a correctional facility can yield more effective communications between correctional staff and the incarcerated population. Inclusion and understanding one another can lead to safer facilities and communities. Additionally, positive interactions with the community is a value the department strives for in its mission and building relationships with native communities can assist individuals’ subsequent transitions back into society.

About the Skokomish Tribe

The Skokomish Reservation is located on several square miles of land near the Skokomish River north of Shelton. The Skokomish Tribal Nation is a federally-recognized tribe of Skokomish, Twana, Klallam and Chimakum people. They are a tribe of Southern Coast Salish indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest.

“What is now known as the Skokomish Tribe actually was primarily composed of Twana Indians, a Salishan people whose aboriginal territory encompassed the Hood Canal drainage basin in western Washington State. The tribe’s first recorded direct contact with European culture came in 1792 and resulted in a devastating smallpox epidemic that took the lives of many. There were nine Twana communities, the largest being known as the Skokomish, or 'big river people'. The Twana subsisted on hunting, fishing and gathering activities, practicing a nomadic life-style during warmer weather and resettling at permanent sites during the winter. Twana descendants live on the Skokomish Reservation, and all have become known as the Skokomish Tribe,” according to the Skokomish Indian Tribe’s website.