Honoring Washoe

May 21, 2008 • Posted in

On February 22, 2008 the Washington State House of Representatives honored Washoe and recognized the decades of service of Deborah Fouts, Roger Fouts, and Mary Lee Jensvold with a unanimous resolution sponsored by Rep. Judy Warnick.

As told in the recent Friends of Washoe newsletter, the entrance of the Capital building was sanctified with beautiful pictures of Washoe and a description of the work of the Foutses and the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI).

Washoe was born in 1965 and a precious friend to many, especially her chimpanzee family Tatu, Dar, Loulis, and Moja (who died June 6, 2002). She passed away on October 30, 2007.

“Washoe was known through the world as the first nonhuman to acquire a human language, American Sign Language. She opened a window into the cognitive workings of a chimpanzee’s mind and added a new dimension to our understanding of communication among both humans and nonhumans” (Test of Washington State House of Representatives Resolution Number 4,672, by representatives Warnick, Dickerson, Hinkle, and Hankins).
Washoe was the matriarch of her chimpanzee family and was known for her humor, intelligence and kindness toward both her chimpanzee and human family and friends.

“We will miss Washoe dearly, but it gives us comfort to know she’s free and it humbles our soul to know even in death she is teaching us about our place in nature” (Rep. Helen Sommers & Senator Marilyn Rasmussen).


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