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Potluck celebrates community, neighbors

INDIANOLA — The Suquamish Olalla Neighbors group is once again looking forward to sharing a meal together to continue building bridges between the Suquamish Tribe and its neighboring communities. On June 3, SON members are asking both tribal and non-tribal residents to bring their favorite dishes, stories and friends to the 6th annual SON Potluck at Camp Indianola.

The group is also presenting something new to make the gathering even more special — a tour of the Doe-Kag-Wats, the largest saltwater marsh in Washington state.

“I’ll go through there and show them the marsh and talk about the history and why it’s an important place to the tribe,” said Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman, who’ll be leading the rour. “I think there’s people within the community who want to learn more about the tribe’s connection with the place.”

The Doe-Kag-Wats is not open to the public, and those wanting to visit the site must either be tribal members or have permission from the tribe, he added. This tour opens the private area up to anyone interested or curious about learning more about it. The Doe-Kag-Wats has been used for hundreds of years for traditional tribal ceremonies, and is relatively untouched except for an oil spill that marred its shores in December 2003.

“Leonard volunteered to do the tour,” said SON member Frances Malone. “We’re doing it because we’re honoring and celebrating friendships in our communities. And because our purpose is to build bridges beyond the boundaries of Suquamish.”

After the tour, which starts at 4 p.m., tribal members, the SON group and anyone else who wants to join in will gather at Camp Indianola and enjoy a potluck and entertainment from the Miller Bay Singers and Suquamish Song and Dance Group, said SON secretary Mary Ann Dow.

The only charge for admittance: food for others to enjoy.

“We have a lot of members in Indianola and all of North Kitsap,” she said of the reason the event is being held in a new place this year. “We had our planning retreat there last year, and everybody just loved being in that setting. It’s still a part of the reservation, it just seems to all work this year.”

Forsman said, in the future, he would be interested in giving tours in other tribal areas to explain their significance.

“It’s a goodwill gesture,” he said. “This is establishing a bond between us and other groups.”

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