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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

The First People

Photo: Nathaniel Willson

The First People


Susan Point

Musqueam, Canadian, born 1951

“I am mostly inspired by nature and our connected human spirit. I try to illustrate our need to protect and restore our natural treasures and bring reflection and awareness to issues of concern in all our lives.” — Susan Point

The homelands of the Musqueam First Nation are punctuated by meandering pathways of water as the Fraser River reaches the Strait of Georgia. The Salish Sea encompasses waterways from Olympia, Washington, to Campbell River, British Columbia, and west to Neah Bay, Washington. The many Indigenous Peoples living on the sea have practiced sustainable stewardship based on traditional ecological knowledge for millennia. This stewardship was interrupted only by the imposition of laws and borders by colonial governments. This artwork celebrates the First Peoples’ connection to the land and sea that bring them food, materials, and cultural practices.
Red and yellow cedar
144 x 89 in. (365.8 x 226.1cm)
Margaret E. Fuller Purchase Fund, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum
Provenance: Purchased from the artist
Photo: Nathaniel Willson
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, S'abadeb - The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists, Oct. 24, 2008 - Jan. 11, 2009 (Victoria, British Columbia, Royal British Columbia Museum, Nov. 2009 - Mar. 2010).

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, YOU ARE ON INDIGENOUS LAND: places/displaces, Apr. 6, 2019 - June 28, 2020.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Our Blue Planet: Global Visions of Water, Mar. 18 - May 30, 2022.
Published ReferencesDuncan, Kate C., American Indian Art magazine, Winter 2010, 35th Anniversary Issue, illustrated page 66

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.

Learn more about Equity at SAM