The school is located near the apex of the Nisqually delta and estuary, which adjoins the Puget Sound. The name, Wa He Lut, comes from a Nisqually warrior and medicine man whose power flowed from thunder and lightning. Wa He Lut Indian School was founded in 1974 by T. Maiselle Bridges and members of the Frank's Landing Indian Community. Their vision for the school was to ensure that Native American children would get funding for the education they were promised in the Medicine Creek treaty.
The Frank family knew the great need for Indian children to learn reading, mathematics, language arts, and science in order to meet the academic progress required by the state. They began the process in 1974 to ensure that each individual child's Native traditions, social skills, coping skills, and mental health needs were being met. This was in addition to what they needed to know in order to obtain public success. The trauma that was caused to the generations of Indian children and their families has been and is still a factor in education of our children. Currently, Wa He Lut Indian School focuses on educating our students in becoming their own advocates, creating healthy environments at school and in the homes. This builds their social character, generating pride, self-worth, caring for each other and our land, along with the academic values placed on each child's learning. The students are able to learn in small classroom settings, where they receive more individual attention and education. Also, Wa He Lut Indian School has teachers, paraeducators, therapists, counselors, and staff that respect the cultural background, and work to equip the students for today's challenges and future successes.
Education & Enrollment
Wa He Lut Indian School has an average enrollment of 145 students, with a population of students from over 25 different Indian Nations. The students span from Kindergarten to 8th Grade, and are taught in an academic environment ranging from 10-20 students per class. Each student is an enrolled member of a Federally Recognized Tribe, descendant of enrolled members, or have an Indian community background. Students at Wa He Lut Indian School are taught the Quilshootseed Indian language that was passed down to Misty Kalama-Archer by "Grandma Nelly" of the Quinault Indian Tribe. It is very important to members of Frank's Landing Indian Community, school leaders, and educators of our Indian students that they learn and continue the languages and cultures of their people. The students participate in Coastal and Plains native performances of dancing, singing, and drumming. The students are educated in a rich Native American cultural atmosphere. In this model, teachers, parents, Elders, and students provide a traditional perspective to the academic program. Each child is encouraged to place a high value on his or her own culture, while respecting the cultural diversity of others. As part of our ongoing culture program, students participate in numerous activities designed to achieve a high level of cultural awareness.