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Past Exhibitions

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Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves

Aug 14 2010 – Aug 14 2011

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

The wolf is central to the cultural beliefs of the Quileute Native Peoples of coastal Washington, and wolf imagery is prominent in their art forms. According to oral traditions, the first Quileute were changed from wolves by the Transformer, Kwa-ti; those ancestral beginnings figure significantly in the Quileute world view, even today.

In 2008, the Quileute were thrust into the public spotlight with the release of the popular film Twilight that depicts the Quileute as werewolves opposite a coven of vampires with which they have an ancient treaty. The notoriety has created more scrutiny of and interest in this small Native nation residing on a one-square mile reservation in La Push, Washington.

In collaboration with the Quileute people, this exhibition focuses on the ceremonies and art works pertaining to the wolf (and other beliefs), and includes 30 objects, many never before exhibited, on loan from the National Museum of the American Indian, the American Museum of Natural History, the Washington State Historical Society and the Olympic National Park. This is the first exhibition on historic Quileute art and seeks to provide an authentic, first-person account of the “real Quileute wolves.”

—Barbara Brotherton, Curator of Native American Art

Educational Resources
To explore this exhibition a little deeper, download our bibliography. Teachers, integrate The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves into your classroom with the Quileute Educator Resource Guide.

This exhibition was organized by the Quileute Nation and the Seattle Art Museum. Corporate support provided by U.S. Bancorp Foundation. Additional support provided by Humanities Washington, Port Madison Enterprises, The Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, and the Native Arts of the Americas and Oceania Council at the Seattle Art Museum.

Wolf headdress, Quileute, wood, paint and hair, 6 x 17 x 6 in., Courtesy National Park Service—Olympic National Park, Cat. No. OLYM 16362, Photo: Martin Hutten

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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