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Bigfoot at UWT? What this means for locals

Sasquatch has been spotted on campus, the first sighting in Tacoma in four years. 

Isn’t it more exciting to live in a world filled with unknowns? This year we have already covered one of Tacoma’s most popular cryptids, Galloping Gertie, Tacoma’s Kraken. This week, we are going to break down the recent Sasquatch sighting on campus: What it means for campus safety and what you need to know of its origin and this mysterious creature’s natural habitat.   

This past weekend two reports came to our office of a disturbingly large and hairy creature roaming the steps of our campus.  

“It must’ve been at least taller than the ‘W’ at the top steps,” responded one Sasquatch witness.  

The University of Washington’s Tacoma campus houses the largest ‘W’ statue of any of the three campuses. If the claims are true, that would put this Sasquatch at over eight feet tall. 

This Bigfoot did not appear to be threatening or hostile according to either witnessing parties.  

If you weren’t aware, according to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, Washington state has the highest number of Bigfoot sightings in the country and your Pierce County ranks at number one with the most reports in the entire state by a wide margin.  

The history of Bigfoot mythology can be traced all over the globe, bearing different names, like Yeti in the Himalayas. Our understanding of Sasquatch and its mythology in the Pacific Northwest region can be directly attributed to the Sts’ailes (sta-hay-lis), a sovereign Coast Salish First Nation.  

The name Sasquatch comes from the Halq’emeylem word sasq’ets which means “Hairy Man.” It is a shapeshifter that protects the land and its people with a special ability to transform into a tree or rock at will, a species that has existed alongside human beings for thousands of years, able to go broadly undetected due to such abilities.  

News of Sasquatch spread throughout the Pacific Northwest thanks to a series of articles by J. W. Burns published in 1929. Sightings in Washington were reported throughout the early twentieth century. They came to absolute critical mass in the late 1960s when Skamania County found it necessary to put an official ordinance in place to protect the rare species from hunters and Bigfoot seekers alike.   

In 1967 two Yakima Valley natives, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin, recorded the now infamous Bigfoot video from Bluff Creek, California. Often debunked, its influence cannot go unmentioned. Bigfoot was now a name nationwide, a thing to be followed.    

In 1993 the former NBA team, Seattle Sonics unveiled their new team mascot, Squatch, cementing the icon into the PNW zeitgeist.  Tacoma’s joint military base Lewis-McChord is the headquarters for the Western Air Defense Sector who also adopted Bigfoot as their mascot.    

A century of reports and a growing community who believes led to the introduction of Senate Bill 5816 in 2017. an act that would designate the Sasquatch as the official cryptid of Washington. While unsuccessful as of yet, it represents a present yearning for Sasquatch as a representation of our region.  

We want the Sasquatch to exist somewhere deep in these folding mountains. A desire for a continuingly wild frontier. The hint of something untamable. A tree out of place, a rock displacing soil, a knock that only something heavy could produce, a howl like an animal you’ve never experienced, only to disappear again while no one is looking. The tree that sings while the grass is sleeping.  

We should have nothing to worry about when it comes to Sasquatch on campus, as long as we care for the earth that provides for us daily. Sasquatch sightings can be a sign of good luck coming your way or a sign of warning. If the Sasquatch does exist, I hope you’ve found your way to the good side of that big foot. 

An artist’s rendition of Bigfoot by the big “W” on the UWT campus. Photo by Cameron Berrens.