- Thanks to a Mukilteo man, a large piece of Northwest American
Indian art has been saved for posterity.
Pancerzewski, a retired accountant and 35-year resident of Mukilteo,
paid more than $30,000 at an auction last month for a carved, authentic
Salish pole with a troubled past. He then donated it to the Burke
Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle.
and his wife, Gayle, who is partly descended from the Tlingit tribe
of southeast Alaska, are collectors of Northwest coast art and have
donated money to the museum before.
pole is a great pole," Pancerzewski said. "Extremely well
pole had faced an uncertain fate because one of its carvers had
been in trouble with the law, Port of Olympia spokeswoman Patti
Grant said. Doug Tobin of the Squaxin Island tribe in Mason County
was paid $66,000 by the port in 1997 to create the pole for a planned
the time, Tobin had finished serving an eight-year sentence for
driving the getaway car in a murder-for-hire case, Grant said. Later,
after helping create the pole, Tobin was again arrested and convicted
of geoduck poaching.
of the actual carving was done by other tribal members, Grant said.
But when it came time to install the pole in the plaza in 2002,
negative public reaction caused the port to reconsider, she said.
port assembled a panel of residents, which recommended the pole
be installed. But dissenting opinions from friends and family of
the murder victim prompted the port to decide against it.
port tried to sell the pole on eBay with a minimum $60,000 bid,
to no avail, Grant said. So officials decided to have an auction,
and when Burke director George MacDonald learned of it, he notified
Pancerzewski.Three sealed bids were submitted - one for $10,000,
one for $23,000 and Pancerzewski's for $28,000, Grant said. The
total, with sales tax, came to $30,352.
36-foot pole was shipped to a Seattle warehouse June 28 and will
be kept there until it is erected outside the museum alongside four
other Northwest Coast-style poles, MacDonald said.
tribe did a cleansing ceremony before releasing the pole, Burke
spokeswoman Mary Ann Barron said.
neither museum officials nor Pancerzewski was deterred by the pole's
primarily interested in the art," Pancerzewski said. "There
are people who sometimes do things they shouldn't. That's not for
me to judge."