New friendship bench honors professor’s 50-year legacy
A Seattle Pacific University professor, who was given full membership into three Pacific Northwest tribes in honor of his lifetime of advocacy and friendship, was honored with a “Friendship Bench” on campus.
The dedication of the Ken Tollefson Friendship Bench was held on Tuesday, Oct. 31, near the Story Pole behind Alexander and Adelaide Hall on the Seattle Pacific University campus.
The late Professor Emeritus of Anthropology Ken Tollefson spent his life committed to serving indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska and mentoring colleagues and students. He was given full membership into the Tlingit, Snoqualmie, and Duwamish tribes in gratitude for his advocacy for the tribes’ federal recognition and protection of their aboriginal sites, including naming Snoqualmie Falls as a natural historic site.
The bench serves as a reminder to honor and maintain the 50-year legacy of friendship that Professor Tollefson fostered with the Coast Salish and Alaskan tribes and to continue to cultivate true friendships with indigenous neighbors on this land.
Fundraising for the bench was completed last May, and the bench was built by SPU facilities. Members of the Snoqualmie Tribe and the Tollefson family were present for the dedication, and an exhibit displaying artifacts from Professor Tollefson’s work is on display in the Alexander and Adelaide Hall foyer.
Photo by Rio Giancarlo