August 7, 2009
Protocol, August 7, 2009
me explain that “protocol” is the term used to describe the
formal aspects of the journey, as in this definition from Random
House: “…the customs and regulations dealing with diplomatic
formality, precedence, and etiquette…”
protocol is the word used to describe the processes of asking
permission to come ashore and to leave the shores of a
particular Tribe, and it is also the word used to describe the
time when each Tribe gets a chance to sing, dance, drum, tell
stories and give gifts to the host Tribe and the audience.
Suquamish began at noon on Tuesday (after a Monday landing and
evening meal), and continued through midnight Friday, with
Saturday reserved for an all-Suquamish celebration. Because the
Tribes were invited to the stage in order of distance traveled –
from farthest to closest in nautical miles – the S’Klallam
bands’ turn came at 4 p.m. on Friday. There is no real schedule,
only a list of Tribes’ names in the order they will perform, so
each Tribe must be ready to go when their time comes. Each Tribe
takes as much time as they need – generally between 2 and 3
Gamble, Jamestown, Lower Elwha and Esquimalt S’Klallam/Klallam
bands went up together, and we had agreed to perform 6 songs
together, and to give gifts. Between 40 and 50 people –
including many of our pullers and ground crew - entered the
House of Awakened Culture to an audience of hundreds.
Champagne family (Andrea, Caleb, Jacob, Emmy, Vicki and Anna)
had spent the prior several hours finishing their regalia –
sewing on shell buttons and braiding hair – while Marie stayed
in the audience to take pictures. Here is a photo of Jorene
Dick, Vicki Champagne and her daughter Anna in the procession as
they entered protocol:
Jorene, Vicki and Anna
Gamble and Lower Elwha bands have dance groups, so while we
sang, they danced. During the Blackfish song, the women dance
with paddles while the men dance as if they are swimming orcas.
In our group, the only dancer is Emmy Champagne, who dances
regularly at Chief Leschi School in Puyallup.
There is a
custom at protocol when someone finds something that someone
else has lost. The person who found the item announces that they
have it, and the person to whom the item belongs must dance for
it. The first such item during our protocol was a drum found on
the beach belonging to Port Gamble Skipper Mike Jones. Although
reluctant to dance, he followed a young woman around the dance
floor, taking her cues for keeping the beat of the drums.
Mike Jones dancing
Pat Johns announced that Lower Elwha member Wendy Sampson had
picked up a broken paddle on Highway 101 between Port Angeles
and Sequim on July 31. It was a huge paddle – perhaps a skipper’s
rudder, and it had been snapped into two pieces, either as it
fell from the back of a pick-up truck, or because it had been
run over by a vehicle. Pat held up the paddle, but no one
claimed it. It may have belonged to a Canadian Tribe whose
members had already headed for home.
then took their turn to thank our hosts and give gifts. Tribal
Elder Elaine Grinnell, Tribal Council member Kurt Grinnell and
Skipper Marlin Holden spoke. While Kurt spoke, Elaine gave gifts
to many, including dance shawls to Suquamish Tribal Chair
Leonard Forsman and Vice-Chair Marilyn Jones, and blankets to
Port Gamble Tribal Chair Jeromy Sullivan, and to Makah Tribal
Chair Ben Johnson. In addition, she gave out books to many
Tribal libraries and schools, leather pouches to several,
including Lower Elwha language teachers Jamie Valadez and Wendy
Sampson and Tribal Journey organizer for the Suquamish Tina
Jackson. While these gifts were being given to specific people,
the children walked through the audience and gave out t-shirts,
necklaces and lip balm.
Kurt, Jeromy, Elaine
was asked to speak. First, he called all of the pullers up to
the front, praising them for their dedication and hard work.
tears in his eyes and difficulty speaking, he announced to the
crowd that the Jamestown journey had been dedicated to the
memory of his late brother Pete. Kurt supported Marlin as he
made this difficult speech.
Marlin and Kurt
had been given by each of the S’Klallam bands, the Suquamish
thanked each by wrapping a Tribal representative in a blanket.
Here is Elaine wrapped in her Suquamish-logo blanket.
ended around 6 p.m. Some went to dinner. Some packed up to go
home, and others spent the last night in Suquamish to attend the
Suquamish protocol on Saturday.