The Stillaguamish Tribe will have its first Salmon Ceremony in at least 25 years on July 25. The ceremony marks the first time the tribe has had a ceremonial and subsistence chinook fishery since 1985.
Even when other tribes continued welcoming the fish that are at the center of Coast Salish culture, the Stillaguamish instead focused on reviving the chinook run on the north fork of the Stillaguamish River.
This year, for the first time in recent memory, fishermen will head out to the river. They’ll beach seine for up to 20 chinook, then celebrate with a salmon ceremony that marks the advent of a new era for the tribe.
“Chinook salmon are a culturally important food source to the Stillaguamish Tribe,” Stillaguamish tribal Chairman Shawn Yanity told the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission in April. “We have not fished for Stillaguamish River chinook for nearly 25 years because we want this population to recover for future generations.”
The tribe’s salmon ceremony is scheduled for July 25.
The tribe’s fisheries managers submitted its fish plan to state and federal leaders during the North of Falcon process, which determines fishing regulations for much of the region. Tribal leaders said then that they plan to beach seine on the Stillaguamish River’s north fork. The announcement signaled not only a flush fishing season, but the advent of a new era for the tribe.
“We’ve done everything we can to recover the fish, but we haven’t done the cultural piece,” Yanity told The Herald in April.