Tumwater means “waterfall” in Chinuk Wawa, a contact language used by tribes in the Pacific Northwest, including the Atfalati band of the Kalapuya who lived in the Cedar Mill area. Tumwater refers to the neighborhood’s most prominent — yet hidden — natural feature, the Cedar Mill Creek Waterfall, just east of Cedar Mill Bible Church and only a 3-minute walk from the middle school. In addition to being the site of the first mill in the area (and namesake of the Cedar Mill community), the falls are believed to have been an important gathering place and possible fishing spot for the Atfalati.
Native American elements were already incorporated in the middle school’s design. Kalapuya baskets inspired the brickwork pattern on the exterior of the school. The District and school administrators have already started to talk about possible learning opportunities involving STEM-based creek and land restoration projects or on-site community gardens with Native plants, in conjunction with THPRD and our tribal partners.
Thank you to the Native American Parent Committee (NAPAC) and our tribal partners who assisted in this process.