POULSBO — The Suquamish, S’Klallam and Twana peoples lived on the Kitsap Peninsula for thousands of years before newcomers arrived in the 1800s.
In 1855, the region’s First Peoples signed treaties with the United States, ceding land to the U.S. in exchange for certain considerations and reserving, for themselves and their descendants, land and the right to fish in their usual and accustomed areas.
From the 1880s to the 1940s, people of Scandivanian heritage comprised the dominant culture in Kitsap. The population began to diversify during World War II, when the population swelled with defense workers, many of whom settled here permanently.
In the 21st Century, the population continues to diversify.
According to the U.S. Census, Kitsap County’s estimated population in 2016 was 264,811. Of that, 16,389 were foreign born; 18,108 were of Mexican, Central or South American ancestry; 12,317 were Asian; 6,628 were African American; 3,178 were Native American or Alaska Native; 2,011 were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
Here’s a list of local cultural celebrations and organizations. Participate, enjoy, and learn more about the cultures of Kitsap County.
Aug. 26, 2017: Pacific Islander Festival, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Bremerton Boardwalk, 106 Washington Ave., Bremerton. Online: www.facebook.com/events/492260311163154.
Aug. 27, 2017: Agat Santa Rosa Fiesta, 1-8 p.m., Bremerton Elks Lodge 1181, 4131 Pine Road NE, Bremerton. A Guamanian/Chamorro cultural celebration. Featuring live music by the Island Reminyse Band.
Dec. 2, 2017: Julefest, Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park, downtown Poulsbo. A Norwegian cultural celebration, with traditional foods, song and dance. Online: www.poulsbosons ofnorway.com/calendar.html.
Throughout 2018: Filipino-American Community Center, 1240 Sheridan Road, Bremerton. Online: www.filamkitsap.org/events.html.
Throughout 2018: Hui Hei Hei Wa’a, a Hawaiian outrigger canoe club based in Silverdale. Online: http://hhwsilverdale.org.
January 2018: Lutefisk dinner, Sons of Norway Lodge, 18891 Front St. NE, Poulsbo. For exact date and time, go to www.poulsbosonsofnor way.com/calendar.html.
Jan. 15, 2018: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, 10 a.m., Kitsap County Fairgrounds Presidents Hall, 1250 NE Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton. Guest speakers, music, vendors, and more.
May 18-20, 2018: Viking Fest, downtown Poulsbo. Parade, carnival, Viking Village re-enactors, live entertainment, contests, and traditional foods, song and dance. Online: www.vikingfest.org.
June 15-16, 2018: Midsommarfest, Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park, downtown Poulsbo. Bonfire, raising of the Maistang (midsommar pole), traditional song and dance. Online: www.poulsbosons ofnorway.com/calendar.html
June 16, 2018: Juneteenth, noon to 6 p.m. Evergreen Park, 1500 Park Ave., Bremerton. Commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States (Congress approved its first law prohibiting slavery, in U.S. territories, on June 19, 1862). Free food, live entertainment, dancing, art activities, car show, elders tent, games, fundraising for sickle cell research.
July 28-Aug. 4, 2018: Intertribal Canoe Journey, a gathering of Northwest indigenous canoe cultures. Canoes will visit Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish en route to their final destination, the lands of the Puyallup Tribe.
Aug. 17-19, 2018: Chief Seattle Days, Suquamish Tribe. A three-day festival featuring the gravesite ceremony honoring of Chief Seattle, powwow, parade, salmon dinner, canoe races, and golf tournament.