MOSES LAKE - In an event at the Moses Lake Sinkiuse Square, the Downtown Moses Lake Association hosted the Colville Business Council and Chief Moses descendants to an unveiling event, honoring the chief with banners hung around the downtown park.
“So many tribes would camp here,” said Colville tribal elder Barbara Aripa, a direct descendant of Chief Moses. “They would have horse races. They would play stickgame. They would do many other things not only for kinship, but for joy and just for being family, just like we are here today. Grandma said, ‘Always remember we are all related, each and every one of us.’”
The event, which had been postponed after the heat wave across the region last week, came as part of the DMLA’s effort to bring community awareness to the name of the Sinkiuse Square and to the history of the region that has spanned back through time immemorial.
DMLA worked with the Colville Tribes to design six banners that now hang around the square.
“I just want to thank the city of Moses Lake for putting this together, with this land recognition,” said CBC Chair Rodney Cawston. “All of this country, where we are at today, this was Chief Moses’ country - from Cheney toward Vantage. He was a very prolific and well-known leader of our people ... He always wanted to stay on his traditional homelands, in this country. He said, ‘I fancy this is my country.’”
Sinkiuse Square features a small amphitheater lined with basalt rock, a fountain, electric car charging stations, benches, tables and a public restroom. The square was dedicated to the city in 2007.
“Not very far from here is the site where Chief Moses set up camp and all the other tribes, the Couer d’Alene, the Spokane, the Yakama, the Wenatchi,” said CBC member Andy Joseph Jr. “They would set up camp, barter and trade. This area had so
many different foods... This is a really awesome honoring. I want to just thank the community for putting this here in honor of my great-great-great grandfather.”
“I feel honored to stand here today and hear the voices of this place and what this place meant to the indigenous peoples,” said Allison Williams, Moses Lake City Manager. “I hope that in my work with the city and the city council we can continue to bring out that spirit in the work that we do ... I am thankful that our parks board had the foresight to think about this place and the naming of this place, to bring it back to the center of our community.”