Downtown Suquamish packed as Chief Seattle Days continues
August 20, 2011 · Updated 12:49 PM
SUQUAMISH – A large crowd formed just after 11 a.m. on Suquamish Way to watch the Chief Seattle Days Parade as the 101st annual celebration continued.
The Chief Seattle Days Celebration continues through Sunday at the House of Awakened Culture and the Suquamish Tribe’s celebration grounds in downtown Suquamish.
The celebration started in 1911 to acknowledge the life of Chief Seattle (1786-1866), the famous leader of the Suquamish people for whom the city of Seattle was named.
The celebration features a royalty pageant where Miss Chief Seattle Days will be chosen, a coed softball tournament, a memorial ceremony at Chief Seattle’s Grave, a parade, a traditional salmon bake, canoe races, a powwow featuring traditional singing and dancing, a 5K run, and art and food vendors.
New this year: the return of the horseshoe tournament and the children's off-the-dock fishing derby; a coastal gathering hosted by the Tana Stobs and other Suquamish canoe families; and the first annual Chief Seattle Days Golf Tournament at White Horse Golf Course benefiting the Suquamish Museum.
CHIEF SEATTLE DAYS SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, AUG. 20
Noon: Suquamish Canoe Family Singers.
12:30 p.m.: Welcoming by Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman, special guests, Tribal Council, Elders Council, Youth Council and Royalty.
1 p.m.: Canoe races start.
5 p.m.: Dinnertime.
Aztec Dance Group
7 p.m.: Protocol meeting and group signups for Sunday.
More Powwow until complete.
SUNDAY, AUG. 21
8 a.m.: 5K Run registration.
9:30 a.m.: 5K Run starts at Information Booth.
10 a.m.: Elders Run, on celebration grounds.
11 a.m.: Canoe races start.
Noon: Grand entry/Powwow continues if needed.
1 p.m.: Coastal Gathering.
3 p.m.: Cultural, Traditional and Family Singers and Dancers. Each group will be called in order of registration.
Raffle awards ceremony.
5 p.m.: Colors retired, celebration ends.
Seattle (or Si’ahl) was born in 1786 and died June 7, 1866. As a child, he witnessed the first European exploration of what is now Puget Sound. In his senior years, he and 81 other indigenous leaders from the region signed the Treaty of Point Elliott, opening the region to non-Native settlement. While the settlement period brought changes that threatened indigenous culture and life, Chief Seattle’s words memorialized at his gravesite still assert Suquamish’s sovereignty — a right to self-government that was never relinquished and which has led to a resurgence in Suquamish cultural, economic, political and social life.
“We feel an obligation to try to preserve the values and the relationships that our people established and sacrificed for, and hand those down to the next generation,” Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman said in an interview before the rededication of Chief Seattle’s gravesite in June. “Seattle and other leaders made some hard decisions — giving up their land in exchange for a reservation — to preserve what they could for future generations. It’s something we continue to think about here and continue to work for by investing in our cultural resurgence, investing in cultural activities and making sure our children are educated in a culturally relevant way.”