Lots to see and do at this year’s Chief Seattle Days

The Suquamish Tribe will be hosting Chief Seattle Days Aug. 18-20.

The annual event put on by the Suquamish Tribe celebrates Chief Seattle for all of his historical accomplishments, per the tribe’s website. There will be plenty of events and activities taking place over the three-day celebration.

“Some are ones that the Suquamish community thought would be fun and some are focused on the revitalization of Coast Salish traditions and culture,” the website states. “This celebration is open to the public and people from around the world are invited to experience the Suquamish Tribe’s hospitality, culture and fun.”


Friday: Coastal Sharing, 10 a.m. to noon; Salmon bake, noon; Coastal Sharing, 1-4 p.m.; Royalty Pageant, 4-6 p.m.; Softball tournament, 6-10 p.m., Coastal Jam, 6-10 p.m.

Saturday: Softball tournament, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Gravesite honoring, 10-11 a.m.; Horseshoe tournament, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Elders Walk, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Salmon bake, noon; Cornhole tournament, 12:30-6 p.m.; Coastal Sharing, 1-6 p.m.; Canoe races, 1-7 p.m.; Sla-hal stick games, 6-10 p.m.; Teen Dance, 8-10 p.m.

Sunday: Fun Run registration, 8-9 a.m.; 5K Fun Run, 9-10:30 a.m.; Softball tournament, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Coastal sharing, 10 a.m. to noon; Horseshoe tournament, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Salmon bake, noon; Canoe races, noon to 5 p.m.; Sla-hal stick games, 1-5 p.m.

Event descriptions

Chief Seattle gravesite honoring

Chief Seattle Days began in 1911 to honor Chief Seattle and the Suquamish people. As the celebration grew, a gravesite ceremony was added. During the ceremony, tribal members practice their traditions, invite people to tell stories and remind people of the history of Chief Seattle and the Suquamish people. The Suquamish is one of more than 20 tribal groups that were parties to the Treaty of Point Elliott, signed near Mukilteo, on north Puget Sound, on Jan. 22, 1855, per the tribe’s website. The document was the second of five treaties that Territorial Gov. Isaac Stevens negotiated with tribes in Western Washington. Representing both the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes at the treaty signing was Chief Seattle, along with many sub-chiefs and leaders of other tribes. The Suquamish gave up title to their lands, which encompassed most of Kitsap County, for acknowledgment and protection of their fishing and hunting rights, health care, education and a reservation at Port Madison. There is no admission fee, and all are welcome.

Co-ed softball tournament

10 teams; seven men and three women are required on the field at all times; players age 12 and older are welcome; players age 12–17 need a guardian present to play; 12-player roster. Awards: 1st — Jackets ; 2nd — Hoodies; 3rd — Crew Neck Sweatshirts; 4th — Long sleeve Dri-Fit.

Coastal Sharing

This year, there will not be a Powwow. Instead, the tribe is implementing coastal sharing. Powwows became part of the Suquamish community because it was during a time when Native Americans weren’t allowed to practice their culture, the website states. Many people of the Suquamish community still hold Powwows as a way to practice culture. “The Suquamish Tribe is working to bring back the traditions of our ancestors, with our traditional songs and dances, along with new songs and dances that our community members choose to share,” per the website. “For 2023, (the tribe) is going to be sharing songs and dances, along with other local tribes, an event that we are calling Coastal Sharing.” All ages are welcome.

Coastal Jam

Tribal families are invited to share songs and dances at the Coastal Jam. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and coastal sharing will start shortly after.

Salmon Bake

Salmon meals are open to the public. Meals will be available for purchase each day starting at noon, while supplies last. Meals are $20 each and include a bottled water. Cash only. Seating will be available on the slab to enjoy meals. Suquamish tribal member elders receive one complimentary meal per day.

Royalty Pageant

“Serving as Chief Seattle Days Royalty is a meaningful opportunity for Suquamish youth that promotes community involvement, kind and respectful choices, and Suquamish youth representation in important spaces,” the tribe’s website states. “Our annual Chief Seattle Days celebration is remembered and honored each time our Suquamish youth wear their crown and sash year around.” Royalty positions: Senior Chief Seattle Days (ages 13-18); Junior Chief Seattle Days (ages 8-12); Little Chief Seattle Days (ages 4-7)

Canoe races

Canoe Racing is open to tribal-affiliated canoe clubs. All are welcome to watch the races. Many categories are offered.

Sla-Hal (Stick Games)

Sla-Hal is a gambling game of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, also known as stickgame, bonegame, bloodless war game, handgame or a name specific to each language. It is played throughout the western United States and Canada by indigenous peoples. Traditionally, the game uses the shin bones from the foreleg of a deer or other animal. Teams are limited to four to eight people. No age restrictions. Participants 12 or younger need a guardian present to play. There is no limit to the number of teams that can participate. Prizes: 1st – $950; 2nd – $550; 3rd – Chief Seattle Days sweatshirts

Cornhole tournament

Double teams; up to 20 teams; must be 16 or older; open to the public. Prizes: 1st – $300; 2nd – $200; 3rd – $100.

Horseshoe tournament

Single-player or double teams; Must be 16 or older; open to the public. Prizes: For Single and Doubles are 1st – $100, 2nd – $50.

Teen Dance

The dance will take place at the Family & Friends Center. Open to all youth in 7th-12th grade. No entry fee. Chaperones will be present.

Elders Walk

Suquamish tribal member elders are invited to participate in the Elders Walk. Each elder will receive a Chief Seattle Days jacket.

5K Fun Run

A fun, scenic and challenging course that passes by historic cultural heritage sites in Suquamish such as Chief Seattle’s Grave, Old Man House Park, marine water and mountain views, and starts and finishes at the Suquamish Tribe’s House of Awakened Culture. There are three divisions with each winner getting a ribbon and commemorative blanket. Second place also gets a ribbon. The age categories are Elders (55+), Adults (19-54) and youth (18 and younger). Children need to run on their own to qualify for awards.

Graveside honoring of Chief Seattle during the event's early years.