MacRae’s Indian Bookstore has been a fixture in downtown Enumclaw since 1971, a beacon at the corner of Cole Street and Griffin Avenue.
Now, that’s about to change, as the family owned and operated store is moving to Tacoma and becoming part of a gathering place for all things honoring Native American culture.
Owner Kathleen Foy, daughter of founder Ken MacRae, is a founding member of Native Quest, a nonprofit organization. The cultural center at 2354 Jefferson Ave. in Tacoma will be “celebrating, educating, nurturing and honoring the heritage of all urban Native Americans living in South Puget Sound,” according to promotional materials.
As she prepares for the move, Foy emphasizes how much her father loved Enumclaw and enjoyed the decades he did business in the former First National Bank building that will soon be listed for sale. She’s grateful the community supported his father’s dream for so many years.
MacRae operated the bookstore and housed his private collection in the two-story building that houses four fireproof vaults. It is believed he held the largest collection of Native American book titles in the world and his collection of Native American art was renowned.
Following her father’s death six years ago, Foy and her husband moved from Florida to keep the family business afloat. Foy reopened the store four years ago, has increased the book inventory by 40 percent and has evolved with the times, selling books through Amazon, for example.
Now, she said, it’s time for a change.
She and four others founded Native Quest, which will house a bookstore, museum, art gallery, reference library and an interactive children’s museum. In addition, there will be a café featuring foods key to the native diet like buffalo, salmon, turkey, wild rice and berries. Opening soon will be a theater and cultural “how to” classes teaching things like basket weaving, beading, drumming and storytelling.
Foy notes there are children in South Sound schools representing more than 200 tribes and “they need a home.”