Swinomish Tribe holds blessing of the fleet

Swinomish tribal members Clay Day, Hawk Wilbur and Joe McDonald prepare to release the remains of a wild salmon back to the water.[display_podcast] The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community held its annual Blessing of the Fleet and First Salmon Ceremony on Thursday.

The celebration, marking the beginning of the fishing season, honors and protects the tribe’s fishing fleet. After a seafood feast of salmon, halibut, crab, prawns, mussels and clams, representatives from the Catholic, Shaker and Pentacostal faiths said blessings over the remains of four wild chinook salmon from the Skagit River.

The fish were wrapped in cedar boughs and carried by young men from the tribe. Following the ceremony, the young men and tribal fishermen released the salmon to all four directions.

Pictured: Tribal members Clay Day (from left) and Hawk Wilbur, assisted by Swinomish fisherman Joe McDonald, prepare to return a salmon to the water west of Deception Pass Bridge.