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Whidbey Island
and The Legend of Deception Pass

Chapter Twenty

The 'Maiden of Deception Pass': Ko-Kwal-Alwoot the Maiden Returns in 1983

Visitors to Deception Pass State Park on the Fidalgo side of the park are greeted by Ko-kwal-alwoot, the "Maiden of Deception Pass," a carved wooden statue of an Indian maiden holding a salmon above her head with both hands.

Ko-kwal-alwoot commemorates 100 years, celebrated in 1983, of changing relations toward understanding between Indian and non-Indian communities in Skagit County. The legend depicts the young Samish Indian maiden who saved her people by sacrificing herself to the angry tides that receded from the beach. She swam out so that only her hair was floating on the water, but instead of being drowned she was transformed into a spirit of the sea, and became immortal in the hearts of her Samish people!

The pole that became the "Maiden" was carved of old-growth western cedar more than five feet in diameter and it depicts the maiden on one side, and on the other her transformation into a mermaid. The salmon she holds aloft is a gift of the sea!

Carving was done by artist Tracy Powell of Anacortes, working with Bill Mitchell, another Anacortes artist, and with Samish Indians, following consultation with members of the Samish Tribe, elders and tribal members who adhered closely to ancient tradition.

Visitors to Deception Pass may look into the currents of Deception Pass and be fortunate enough to see, along with her own people, in the waters, the Maiden's hair, drifting gently with the tide!

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