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‘A Time to Gather” draws different faces

 - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

SUQUAMISH — As wave after wave of people entered Kiana Lodge Thursday evening for “A Time to Gather” celebration, they all shared something in common — their hopes for the Suquamish Foundation and what it will do for the Suquamish Tribe’s future.

The dinner, attended by 320 people, was punctuated with performances from Native Hawaiian conch blower Chief Keoni, Native Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Keola Beamer and Native American Navajo flutist R. Carlos Nakai, who brought the campaigns’ motto “Building for Resurgence” to life.

“It was fantastic,” said Suquamish Foundation director Michael Felts. “Everybody there said it was a really magical night. At one point the slack-key guitarist and flutist were playing and it started to rain. Kiana Lodge has a kind of plastic or glass roof, and it just sounded magnificent all together.”

The foundation is working on several projects to help the tribe’s culture reemerge, including a new Suquamish Tribe Museum and Arts Center and a Suquamish Tribe Community House, which would be used for gatherings, celebrations and other community events. The tribe received $1 million for a new museum and $550,000 for the community house from the state Legislature, which will help construct the buildings.

“It was an extraordinary evening,” said foundation member Sarah van Gelder. “There was inspiring music and great company. It was a wonderful launch for the Suquamish Foundation. The event was pretty much about music, food and company.”

Felts said people came from the east side of the Puget Sound and throughout Kitsap County to attend the event, which not only showcased the foundation’s efforts, but the tribe’s as well. Though there wasn’t much discussion about the construction itself, draft designs were available for attendees to review.

“There was a general sense of excitement,” van Gelder said of the plans. She added the evening was primarily focused on having fun and celebrating the tribe.

“There was well played music that started just after 6 p.m.,” said Kingston Chamber of Commerce executive director Sally Christy. “The music just went on until almost 10 p.m. It was wonderful.”

The Suquamish Foundation will spend the rest of the year developing its campaign, Felts said, and acquiring as many regional donors as possible for the cause. It is also continuing to uphold what was celebrated at Kiana Lodge last week, maintaining and furthering the tribe’s heritage.

“The music blended beautifully,” van Gelder said. “Both (musicians) reflected the indigenous culture and the similarities of taking care of the earth and the community.”

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