History displayed: 1954 mascot Kolidja still in school case


March 22, 2023

Bill Reynolds

STILL STANDING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS – The nearly 70-year-old La Conner Braves mascot Kolidja, carved by the late Andrew Joe as a gift to the Class of 1954, doesn't travel with school teams as he did during his prime but is still a visible presence on campus. The revered sculpture, which evokes fond memories for La Conner alums across the decades, stands just inside the entrance to the middle school building.

He may not have realized it at the time, but nearly 70 years ago the late famed Swinomish artisan Andrew Joe began carving a special and lasting niche in the history of La Conner Schools.

And it is a part of campus lore and tradition literally and figuratively standing the test of time.

It is the life-sized carving of the Native American chieftain fondly known to generations of La Conner students as "Kolidja," now in a secured display area at the entrance to the middle school building.

But during his prime years, before achieving elder status, Kolidja was a constant presence at high scho...

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