Indigenous Knowledge Highlighted at Pacific Science Center’s Pollinator Path

Three signs in the Pollinator Path

Seattle, WA — March 29, 2024 — Pacific Science Center (PacSci) presents its new exhibit, Pollinator Path, to the public today. Pollinator Path encourages visitors to reflect on the intertwined and cyclical relationship between plants, pollinators, animals, and themselves. PacSci worked closely with Owen Oliver (Quinault / Isleta Pueblo) of Headwater People to create this outdoor exhibit with a Native-led interpretive approach.

Pollinator Path is important because it centers Indigenous stories that have been told in and outside of the Pacific Northwest,” said Oliver. “Pollinators are a piece of these stories that call us to reflect on how and if we are being good stewards to our non-human kin. Chinuk Wawa (Chinook Jargon) used here highlights a collaboration of Native/non-Native words and syntax in the Northwest. I wanted to use it here to emphasize the vast and unique Indigenous languages that are still spoken and being revitalized in Washington.”

Indigenous knowledge, historically excluded and still underrepresented in STEM, takes center stage in this multi-sensory exhibit, such as the story of the “three sisters”— corn, beans, and squash — that have long been planted together, highlighting Indigenous agricultural expertise and tradition. Berries, ferns, and other native plants used for food and medicinal purposes also attract native pollinators such as birds and bees.

“Supporting community-driven narratives is just one way that Pacific Science Center’s exhibits prioritize inclusion and representation. Collaborations such as the Pollinator Path are a step towards developing deeper relationships with Indigenous communities, who have had ties to this land since time immemorial,” said Isabelle Heyward, Director of Exhibits at PacSci. “We have a lot to learn. I hope the Pollinator Path inspires curiosity in our guests about different ways of knowing and being, and about the environment we live in, its history, and the impacts we all have on one another.”

Native plant, pollinator, and animal names that have been used for millennia — and are still used today — by local and regional Indigenous communities will be on display, and Chinuk Wawa, a Native Pacific Northwest language, will be written, read, and heard throughout the exhibit.