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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Mask is really a Salish Guardian
To the editor:
The granite mask recovered from Perego’s Lagoon, that some readers have conjectured to resemble museum curator Rick Castellano, is in reality a Salish People’s Guardian or carrying stone. It is intended to protect a village or important gathering site and give definition to boundaries without need of title.
Its Salish name is Schwa-sub and is most likely Whidbey Skagit. Others like it are known to exist and have been documented at village sites. To move it without proper words and ceremony, which makes it lighter to carry by young men, was a very grave transgression. Tradition says even to turn it will change the weather.
And while one man’s curious anthropomorphic petroglyph is another man’s guardian stone, the most serious threat to archeological sites is the public and those who allow continuing disrespect, vandalism and pilferage of cultural assets to happen time and again in the name of collection.
Now that it has been documented, return the guardian stone to the young Skagits, the sons of the men who placed it, that they may carry it back to the lagoon in which it belongs and from the which it has been removed twice.
With all the handling I know why the weather has been so unsettled of late, and replacing it will undoubtedly improve the salmon fishing.