The Unangax dance troupe, their peoples having been in existence for more than 7,000 years and more familiarly known as Aleut, Sngagim Axasniikangin (Dream Dancers), believing they obtain perfect harmony and balance through canoe pulling, performed their Sea Gull Dance. Later, teaching the audience their Halibut Dance, they invited us to join them for one more round of the dance.
The crowd waited in anticipation for the canoes to arrive.
Canoe families pulling their way to our shore.
Onlookers watched as the canoe families arrived.
Raising their paddles as a sign of peace, the canoe families requested permission to come ashore where blessings and cultures were shared.
Their canoes beached at Boulevard Park where the canoe pullers ate and rested after their long journey.
Last year marked the first official acknowledgement of the "First Inhabitants of the Land and these Waters" by our government. Governor Gregoire declared the day "Canoe Journey Day" in celebration of an historic, healing and joyful gathering of our communities.
Photos from the celebrations throughout the day.
Gene Tagaban, a noted Tlingit storyteller, teacher, dancer and actor of Cherokee, Tlingit and Filipino ancestry, shared with us the story of his life-long dream to be the Raven Dancer. Delighting us, he performed his Raven Dance not once, not twice, but three times!
The following video found on U-Tube presents an interview with Gene Tagaban about his work on a project with the Seattle Children's Theater.
Quoted from one of the other story tellers, "Look, white man, this is our way!"
Later, a special treat of salmon chowder from Boundary Bay most appropriately completed our day. As we waited for our table, a double rainbow appeared over the Herald Building in downtown Bellingham just as a colorful sunset was casting its magical glow on the building.