Long ago a maiden named Ko-kwal-alwoot risked her life to save the Samish people from starvation. She did so by agreeing to marry a man of the sea, who threatened to take the plentiful sea-life away from the area if she did not. Her reluctant father demanded that Ko-kwal-alwoot return annually so that he could check on her well-being. But, after about four years of visits, she had become so accustomed to the water, it became difficult for her to physically come to the village. And so, Ko-kwal-alwoot lives eternally underwater, ensuring the area has an abundance of food for her people. Glimpses of her can still be seen around Deception Pass, where her hair flows with the cycles of the tide.
Ko-kwal-alwoot’s sacrifice is celebrated in a story pole carved 30 years ago and placed on Rosario Beach, in Deception Pass State Park. The documentary The Maiden of Deception Pass: Guardian of Her Samish People tells the story that the pole depicts, how its dedication came to be, and how this history inspires generations of Samish people.