Coast Salish speakers coming to Lopez Island

  • Wed Mar 21st, 2018 12:09pm
  • Life

Submitted by Kristina Moen, Lopez Library

The Lopez Island Library, San Juan Islands National Monument, and San Juan County Parks join to present four programs in support of the 2018 Intertribal Canoe Journey, a tradition for Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Each year, more than 60 families travel many miles from Alaska, Washington and British Columbia in ocean-going canoes — some made with traditional materials and methods – to connect communities and share songs, dances, stories and gifts. It is both a revival of traditional transportation and a cultural experience for tribal youth. Along the way, the canoe families stop at host sites to rest and celebrate. Odlin Park (Sxw’alech) is honored to host the canoe families on July 20 en route to their final destination in the territory of the Medicine Creek Nation. The public is invited to volunteer in organizing or cooking, take part in a potluck, and experience the performance of the canoe families. To help facilitate relationships and understanding between the Lopez community and our Coast Salish guests, we invite you to attend four presentations by Coast Salish speakers and elders, one for each month leading up to the Canoe Journey stop at Odlin Park in July.

The first presentation, titled “Five Generations: Changes to the Coast Salish Peoples’ Relationship with the Salish Sea” will be held at Woodmen Hall on Tuesday, March 26 at 6 p.m. Our distinguished first speaker is Timothy Ballew Sr. of the Lummi Nation. Ballew is a community fisherman, former chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council, and a current faculty member in the Native Environmental Science program at the Northwest Indian College. Future programs will include a song and dance demonstration with a Tulalip youth group in April, a Coast Salish arts lecture in May, and a presentation on the history and customs of the canoe journey with a skipper for the Stillaguamish canoe family in June. Stay tuned for dates and times. These programs are made possible through an LTAC grant.