Saturday, July 18, 2009

Coast Salish Day

It was the third annual celebration officially recognizing and honoring the first inhabitants of this land and initiating participation by local tribes in the 2009 Canoe Journey to Suquamish from August 3rd through 8th and crowds gathered as the veterans presented the colors to kick off the celebrations at Boulevard Park.One of the highlights of the event that I particularly enjoyed this year was a presentation given by Marylin Bard. Marylin, the daughter of Canoe Journey founder Emmet Oliver, shared the history of the Canoe Journey. Emmett Oliver, a Quinault tribal elder, revitalized the annual canoe journey among Northwest tribes in modern times when he organized the "Paddle to Seattle" for Washington State’s centennial in 1989. Over the last several years the canoe journeys have become a major catalyst for Coastal Salish people to re-learn, strengthen and reinforce their canoe traditions. The journeys teach people about canoeing, living, working and achieving in a community, the value of knowledge and the value of hard work. The journeys also create an immense sense of pride in, and also an immense sense of respect for, Native Indian culture. The elderly and frail-looking Emmet was sitting in the audience. How wonderful it felt as he stood for a moment and the crowd honored him.

Onlookers watched as the canoe families reached the park for the traditional tribal canoe landings.Canoe families were greeted and invited ashore for food and sharing of cultural protocol.
A song and dance for the girls was shared by a canoe family.
Native art and food vendors were set up throughout the park. Here, a member of the Lummi Ventures Program, an artist and story teller, displays his work.
As a fund raiser, canoe rides were available to the public. Steve and his family participated and experienced pulling (paddling) a native canoe through the water.

Pictures of the 2009 Coast Salish Day Celebration.


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