Special Spirit Power, War Spirit Power, Thunder Power and Chain Lightning 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.

S'Klallam Tribe

1033 Old Blyn Hwy
Sequim, WA 98382
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Friday, August 7

Jamestown Canoe Journey Blog 


Blog for August 7, 2009

S’Klallam Protocol, August 7, 2009

First, let 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…”

Therefore, 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.

Protocol at 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 hours.

The Port 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.

S’Klallam group

The 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:

Photo: Jorene, Vicki and Anna

The Port 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.

 Blackfish dance


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

Then emcee 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.

Broken paddle

Each Tribe 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.

Elaine drumming

Mike, Kurt, Jeromy, Elaine

Then Marlin was asked to speak. First, he called all of the pullers up to the front, praising them for their dedication and hard work.

Laxaynem crew

Then, with 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

After gifts 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.

Elaine blanket

Our protocol 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.

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