Paddling to the Potlatch

The Skagit Valley Herald quotes Billy Frank in a story about the canoe journey and potlatch at Lummi Nation:

Monday marked the beginning of a weeklong potlatch — an ancient tribal gathering that includes singing, dancing and inter-tribal treaty talks for dozens of coastal tribes from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska.

This potlatch signifies a renewal of cultural traditions and pride among Native Americans, and it can be traced back to potlatches held before they were banned in a larger attempt by the United States and Canada to quash Native identity, starting in the 1800s.

“We are proud of who we are,” said Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually tribal elder and head of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. “This is a great day for all of us.”