The Olympian:

More than 500 people stood on the pebbly beach, but thumping drums and ancient songs were the only sounds as four Squaxin Island tribal members carried one coin-bright chinook on a fern-draped cedar plate.

A tribal member eased the ferns out of the way and gently cut two bright-orange fillets out of the gleaming fish.

The carcass — with head, tail and fins intact was returned to the plate and taken back to the tribe’s massive canoe.

Tribal members paddled the canoe well offshore and tenderly returned the carcass to the water.

Once again, the tribe’s timeless ceremony to release the spirit of the first-caught salmon was complete.