Swinomish elder and longtime tribal senator Chester Cayou passed away Friday. A prayer service will be held tonight at 7 p.m. in the Swinomish gymnasium. The funeral is Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the same location: 17275 Reservation Road, La Conner, Wash.
Mr. Cayou, who was of Lummi, Mitchell Bay and Saanich ancestry, died Friday at his Swinomish home. He was in his 80s and had been in declining health since suffering a stroke.
Even after his stroke kept him from regularly attending meetings, Swinomish leaders consulted him regarding issues of the day.
At a dinner Sunday in the Swinomish gymnasium, Mr. Cayou was remembered for his sense of humor, his cultural work in the region, and his tireless work in Swinomish government. Because of his cultural knowledge, varied experiences, and knowledge of the region’s indigenous history, he was often sought out by researchers and writers. He shared information about the region’s marine health for an award-winning documentary, “March Point.”