SNOHOMISH — A peaceful spot along the Snohomish River is going to be named after Pilchuck Julia, a tribal fisherwoman who lived in a village along the same river around the turn of the 20th century.
The 20-acre field and boat launch on Lincoln Avenue will be named Pilchuck Julia Landing after a Snohomish City Council vote last week. The tribes and the city plan to host a naming ceremony, but a date has not been set.
It’s not clear what tribe Pilchuck Julia came from, but when she married Pilchuck Jack she became part of his, said Ryan Miller, a project manager for the Tulalip Tribes and a descendant of Pilchuck Julia.
“That’s what she would have identified as,” Miller said.
They were in a band of the Snohomish Tribe, which became part of the Tulalip Tribes after the signing of the Point Elliot Treaty in 1855.
The tribes hope to gather information about Pilchuck Julia’s life to include on a sign at the park. Not much is known about her early life, including her birth date.
“We know she was born at a time when they weren’t keeping very great records,” Miller said. “A lot of these things had to be passed down. We don’t know a ton about her early life and I’m not sure we ever will.”
Information has been lost through the years as people have passed away.
She was known to predict the weather, including a big snowstorm that hit the region in 1916. She also likely was at the signing of the Point Elliot Treaty.
It has been reported that Pilchuck Julia contracted smallpox and died at her home in 1923. She likely would have been around 80 years old.
People in Snohomish said they’d like to see the park named for Pilchuck Julia. The city and tribes worked together.
“We wanted to make sure that naming it from a culture different from ours, to respect their cultural traditions,” city councilmember Linda Redmon said.
Pilchuck Jack was the brother of Miller’s great-great-great grandfather, Pilchuck Charlie.
It’s not clear if anyone knows Pilchuck Julia’s name in Lushootseed, the language used by tribes in the region. They were given the name Pilchuck because of where they lived.
Their home was in a village where the Pilchuck and Snohomish rivers met.
“Their territory was the entire drainage of the Pilchuck River,” Miller said.
Miller thinks it’s an honor that the space is being named after Pilchuck Julia.
“She was a very important person, an important figure,” he said. “It’s fantastic that local governments are starting to acknowledge that indigenous people have been here, and renaming these things … after people who were part of the culture that’s been here for thousands of years.”