Special Spirit Power, War Spirit Power, Thunder Power and Chain Ligtning was unique to the Dungeness people. The S'Klallams would display this power in the manner that they entered a village for a potlatch or gathering.
From the Dance Plaza House Post Carvings - Dale Faulstich, Lead Carver and Designer.
Assistant Carvers: Nathan Gillis and Ed Charles. Volunteer carvers: Harry Burlingone and Don Walsh.
1033 Old Blyn Hwy
Sequim, WA 98382
On July 26, we moved from Songhees near Esquimalt to Tsawout on the east Saanich Peninsula. (The Songhees, Tsawout and Tsartlip Bands are all part of the Saanich First Nation.) We got the crew down to the Songhees beach for a 7 a.m. launch, and packed up camp. With no directions for getting to Tsawout, our caravan of three vehicles headed north and after making several circles around the Central Saanich Peninsula, we found the Tsawout Reserve.
Pushing out of Tsawout
Welcoming committee Tsartlip
Crowd of canoes at Tsartlip
We were able to set up a very neat camp in less than an hour – a perfect circle of tents and the kitchen canopy surrounding our 14 camp chairs, with the trailer full of gear parked nearby. At about 1, Irv decided to drive down to the beach to see whether the canoes were coming in yet, saying that he’d be back in a few minutes to let us know. Barb and I waited, and waited….and waited. We finally decided to take the van down there, when we realized, much to our chagrin, that Irv had the van keys in his pocket. All of our cell phones were locked in the van. So…we asked Jimmy to drive his van down and send Irv back with the keys, but Jimmy couldn’t find Irv. He was, no doubt, off taking photos somewhere. So… we met the folks camping next to us from Mukilteo, waiting for their pullers, chased after every one of the Tsooke Nation’s tents (which were blowing away because they weren’t staked down), met a traveling hands-on healing minister who wondered whether the Jamestown Tribe needed his services, filled the water jugs and took showers at the house up the street (of a family who had volunteered their two bathrooms to all of the campers at this stop). Finally Irv returned, and then it was time to pick up the pullers, which took several trips back and forth to and from the beach on a very narrow road full of support vehicles.
The pull had been hard and long, but they had been able to sail part of the way, until they rounded a point where San Juan Island seemed to be shielding them from the wind. Everyone took showers. Elaine realized that she had lost her purse, and tried to retrace her steps…was it in the herring boat that had carried her from the Whitefeather to shore? Or was it in the van of the elderly couple with whom she’d hitched a ride to the camp ground? She hoped it was in the van, because the couple had promised they’d see her at dinner.
We went to the Big House (the Canadian name for the Longhouse) for dinner. The Grand Ronde group sang a beautiful Dinner Song, and then the Suquamish led us in a dinner prayer. Hundreds of people lined up for dinner of salad and salmon and rice and beans and other dishes. The Big House was about 120-feet long, with a dirt floor, and bleacher-type bench seats built in all around, where everyone sat, while all of the action took place on the floor. It had two huge woodstoves made from oil tanks. The stoves’ pipes led up to a high roof with open skylights where the smoke would exit if the stoves were burning. The room was smoky, probably from the delicious salmon which had been smoked for dinner, and the lights very dim. Its post and beam construction was hand-hewn from full diameter logs. It felt well-used, ancient and welcoming. Julie explained that this was a sacred place which could only be entered with an invitation from the owners.
Elaine found the couple who had given her a ride, and they returned her purse. It was really only then that she admitted how panic-stricken she had been at the prospect of having lost her money, credit cards and passport. Elaine got in line and got the couple their dinners, and later, she got up before the group and thanked them publicly.
It was such a welcoming feeling. As Barb said, “No matter how little they had, they were willing to share it all – showers, food, special spaces – with us.” Marlin got up to thank them before the crowd, which made us all very proud to have been represented by our skipper. Barb made a note to send a gift to the family who had shared their showers with us.
We decided that rather than move camp in the morning to Tsartlip (which is about 5 miles away, on the west side of the Saanich Peninsula) that we will stay here, and drive over to Tsartlip for the landing on Sunday and the launching on Monday. Sitting around camp after dinner and some of the song and dance, we could hear the drums and voices for several hours from the Big House, which was 4 or 5 blocks away. Marlin advised us that we didn’t have to launch until 9 a.m., so we went to bed knowing we could sleep in, and have a good hot breakfast before the trip.
We were up by 6:30 making coffee (old habits die hard) and oatmeal. Barb and I asked everyone to bag up their laundry, as today will be our day to find a laundromat. By 8:30, we did our smudging ceremony. Mark expressed his feelings about helping us on the journey, saying that he was honored to be helping, and to be teaching Julie the ways of the boat. We thanked him for making our journey possible – without him, we might not have been able to come. We dropped them off at the beach, and they took off.
The crew knew that they’d be towed for part of the journey today, through some rocky passages, so they used the time to take lessons in skippering. As the Laxaynem was pulled on a line behind the Whitefeather, most of the pullers took a turn at the stern of the canoe, steering it to keep in a straight line with the Whitefeather. Nikki said that she gained a new respect for Marlin. “I don’t know how he got us through the 6-foot swells when we crossed the Strait the other day. He must have a kung fu grip on his paddle!”
Another event from today was when the Laxaynem crew noticed a boat coming out of Sydney Harbor going too fast, and lost its dinghy. At that moment, Marlin, Nikki and Andrea were in the canoe (learning to skipper). The Whitefeather crew wanted to chase the dinghy, so they detached the canoe, leaving the three pullers in the canoe.
For those in the canoe, it was a fun opportunity to paddle around the channel, and Marlin said he thought that they had their picture taken more than any other canoe, because people considered it a novelty that there were only three people in it.
Meanwhile, the Whitefeather, with all of the other pullers on board, approached the dinghy, as the dinghy’s owners approached it, too. Pete got the hook from Julie and grabbed the dinghy and the owners pulled up and thanked them. That’s when Pete said, “Yeah, but you’re going to have to dance for it.” Elaine said they looked genuinely scared that a bunch of crazy canoe-paddling Indians were telling them to dance, but the husband began to dance. He wanted his boat back! Then the wife reached over to Elaine to get the rope, and Elaine said, “You have to dance for it, too!” And she did.
After cleaning up breakfast, we ventured out to Sydney, did 13 loads of laundry and shopped for groceries. By the time we returned it was time to go to Tsartlip to see the landing protocol and get the pullers safely back to camp. I managed to sneak in a quick swim in Brentwood Bay before the canoes came in – in a perfectly spaced line, silhouetted against the sun – nearly 50 in all. This is getting pretty spectacular, though it’s clear that after 6-8 hours on the water, waiting another hour or more to ask for permission to land is a grueling ordeal in the hot sun. Irv brought the crew cold drinks, and wished he could have brought enough for everyone. But at these small stops, the roads are narrow, the parking is scarce, and vehicles generally have to be left at a distance and retrieved when needed.
At this stop, the beach was narrow, and every canoe had to be carried up a steep path to a small field above the water. By the time we got everyone back to camp, they were beat and ready for dinner.
Tomorrow, we leave for Cowichan – our final destination. We have been told that
protocol will be from 4-8 p.m., and it will take that long for all of the 80+
canoes to ask permission to land. We’re making extra lunch, snacks and drinks
for the crew – although the trip is shorter than most of the days of the
journey, they’ll be out on the water for many, many hours tomorrow. Josh can’t
believe that tomorrow is the last day of the trip.
Contact Us |
©2008 Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe