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Student filmmakers showcase the significance of traditional Duwamish site at Licton Springs

Matt Remle and Urban Native Education Alliance
Students with the Clear Sky Native Youth Council at Licton Springs in North Seattle

When Cante Remle, 12, went to Licton Springs Park recently with a group of other young Native people to make a film about the traditional Duwamish site in North Seattle, what he discovered made him sad.

“A lot of trees were vandalized, surprisingly. And a lot of trash was left around in corners, and in the river, there was a lot of shopping carts,” said Remle, who is Hunkpapa Lakota and Paiute. “I don’t know what type of people would shove shopping carts into a river, especially on a sacred site, you know?”

So, he captured that neglect on film. The other young people involved with the Clear Sky Native Youth Council gathered footage of the springs, which run red from iron oxide that was traditionally used for ceremonies and healing. They also interviewed Duwamish elders, including Thomas Speer and Ken Workman, about the site’s significance.

Their short documentary explains why Licton Springs should be designated as a landmark to show the site the respect it deserves. Matt Remle, Cante’s father, submitted a proposal to the Landmarks Preservation Board in June. The board voted Oct. 16 to give it landmark status.

Cante and his older brother Chayton, 15, grew up visiting Licton Springs with their parents. They would clear leaves from the creek and pick up trash.

“I think it’s important to preserve history,” Chayton Remle said. “We just wish that there was more protection around it.”

The film will be screened on Saturday at the Seattle Central Library. It will be followed by a youth discussion and mini keynote by Thomas Speer and Matt Remle.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.