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Putting the pieces together again
"SUQUAMISH - The three-foot marble cross sitting atop Chief Seattle's monument is seamlessly repaired and fortified against another attack. Then the Suquamish community followed suit. In a rededication ceremony held Saturday morning at the Suquamish Chief's gravesite, about 100 people gathered to honor the man whose spirit continues to bring understanding between cultures. We're all here to honor our chief and wipe it away today, said Gene Jones, who offered an opening prayer urging people to do away with intolerance. About three months ago vandals struck Chief Seattle's gravesite knocking over the cross and breaking it into three pieces. The FBI and Suquamish Police are investigating the crime, which some people believe is a hate crime. Wayne George, executive director for the Suquamish Tribal Center, the investigation continues. The attempts to mend feelings focuses around the tribe's proposed Angeline housing development, which tribal officials believe to be a catalyst in the desecration of Chief Seattle's gravesite, also continues. I don't know what we can do to fix the fractures in our community, said Bennie Armstrong, Suquamish tribal council president. Sharing between non-tribal people and the tribe he said is inevitable, something that Chief Seattle knew and embraced. Bob George, of Suquamish recited a portion of Chief Seattle's speech from memory. It makes you feel like part of the land, he said of saying the Chief's words. G.I. James of the Lummi tribe and a direct descendent of Chief Seattle was also on hand as well as tribal elders, area office holders and community members. Seattle's Deputy Mayor Tom Byers attended the ceremony and offered these words, Acts of vandalism and violence can sometimes bring us to our senses on how much we need one another. The event was organized by the Suquamish Tribe and the newly-formed community group Olalla. Rich and Michelle Lanning of Indianola were honored for leading efforts to repair the gravesite. Their company Sound Stoneworks volunteered to piece together the cross and clean the rest of the monument. Marilyn Wandrey, tribal elder chairman, ended the ceremony with a prayer. We pray that our hearts are open and wish for love and forgiveness, she said. We need to forgive and move forward. "