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Calling all nations to Suquamish

SUQUAMISH — When the ownership of Old Man House Park was transferred to the Suquamish Tribe in June, Chief Seattle Days organizer Ed Midkiff was inspired by a remark made by Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman: “Today is a good day to be Suquamish.”

Midkiff took that phrase and made it the theme for Chief Seattle Days, which takes place for the 95th time Aug. 19-21 in downtown Suquamish.

“I thought that was kind of poetic to be able to say that,” Midkiff explained.

Everyone is a native of some place, he said, whether they are from America, Europe or beyond, but everyone comes from somewhere.

“That’s what the celebration is —  it’s an invitation for all nations to come and visit our nation,” he said.

To help drive home the importance of the theme, Midkiff invited the Le-La-La Dancers of British Columbia, Canada to perform Aug. 20 during the festival.

While local Native American traditional regalia consists of button blankets, cedar-woven hats and handmade drums, the Le-La-La dancers incorporate the use of hand-carved and elaborately decorated masks.

“We haven’t had mask dancers before,” Midkiff said. “Those masks are used in ceremonial dances for like weddings up in the northern part of our country (and) Canada.”

Midkiff encouraged neighbors from all over the area to join the festivities next weekend.

“It’s a gathering saying, ‘We are all neighbors, we are all welcome, come have a barbecue’ — only we’re having salmon,” he said with a laugh.

The festival is free and open to the public. Vendors selling both goods and food will be in downtown Suquamish that weekend. Elders will lead the annual memorial service at 9 a.m. Saturday at Chief Seattle’s grave site followed by the parade at 11 a.m.

The weekend’s schedule includes:

Friday:

5 p.m. — Little League baseball tournament at Suquamish Elementary

5 p.m. — Canoes leave Old Man House Park

6 p.m. — Miss Chief Seattle Days Pageant

8-11 p.m. — Teen Dance

Dusk — Fireworks display

Saturday:

9 a.m. — Memorial Service at Chief Seattle Grave

10 a.m. — Little League tournament continues, volleyball tournament starts

11 a.m. — Chief Seattle Days Parade begins

Noon — Pow wow Grand Entry

12:30 p.m. — Welcome from Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman

1 p.m. — Canoe races start

2 p.m. — The Suquamish Canoe Family Singers

3 p.m. — Alaskan Inuit Dancers and Singers, pow wow competition

Dinner — Le-La-La Dancers, a First Nations traditional dance group

Fireworks display, pow wow until midnight

Sunday:

10 a.m. — Little League and volleyball tournaments continue

10 a.m. — Fun run and elders run

11 a.m. — Canoe races start

Noon — Grand Entry, pow wow continues, Aztec Dancers, The Suquamish Family Canoe Dancers, award ceremony

5 p.m. — Celebration ends

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