Chief Kitsap Academy
Students at Chief Kitsap Academy in Washington State work on a mural showing a family of bears canoeing with an orca escort.

Video: Mural Represents More Than Just Art at Chief Kitsap Academy


When would a family of bears canoe with an orca escort? When the bear is the mascot of the Chief Kitsap Academy and orcas have ingratiated themselves into important events to the Suquamish Tribe.

A pod swam close to the barge occupied by Jade Jefferson, 13, and his friends while they sang during the journey home from the 2013 Salmon Homecoming in Seattle, reports the Kitsap Sun.

Jefferson told the Sun, the largest orca breached as they ended their song.

Those orcas have become partial inspiration for a mural that students, including Jefferson, at Chief Kitsap Academy in Suquamish, Washington, are working on with artist Toma Villa, a member of the Yakama Nation.

“I haven’t really seen anything like this before. I have been to a bunch of public schools and they don’t do anything like this at all,” Yah-will-ah Ives, 17, a student at Chief Kitsap Academy told the Sun. “I think this is really good and really healthy for the students who go here because it’s a tribal school so it’s cool they are bringing a little bit of the culture back.”

According to the school’s website, it serves grades 6 to 12 and is operated and primarily funded by the Suquamish Tribe. Students from the surrounding area are a mix of tribal and non-tribal students.

“The basic part of it is working with the kids, letting them just hangout and have fun,” Villa told the Sun. “Art is a part of it, but it’s getting to know each other.”

The same year the orcas joined the Salmon Homecoming, a pod surrounded a ferry bringing artifacts back to the Suquamish Tribe’s museum from the Burke Museum in Seattle.

RELATED: Dozens of Orcas Surround Ferry Returning Suquamish Artifacts Home

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