ARLINGTON — The guest of honor was the first chinook salmon of the season, but the focus of the day was the launch of the Stillaguamish Tribe’s first shovel-nose dugout river canoe in a century.
Continuing on its path to cultural restoration, the tribe on Saturday welcomed hundreds of people from other Northwest Indian tribes and the Arlington community for a day-long celebration at the Victoria Ranch northwest of Arlington.
Tribal members presented Pendleton blankets to special guests and served a generous salmon dinner. There were more gifts, singing, drumming, prayers, speeches — even a string of jokes told by Stillaguamish Tribal Chairman Shawn Yanity.
The action took place in front of the carefully decorated, freshly completed cedar canoe.
It took six months and six days to get the canoe from log to ceremony, said Felix Solomon. Solomon is the Lummi artist commissioned by the Stillaguamish to carve the tribe’s first traditional Coast Salish canoe in modern times.
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