The Suquamish Tribe heads into August busily preparing for Chief Seattle Days, which will take place on Aug. 15 through Aug. 18.
Chief Seattle Days is a three-day festival that honors the life and leadership of Chief Seattle. The festival has taken place in downtown Suquamish since 1911 and brings together tribal members, community residents and civic leaders from all over the Pacific Northwest.
Many of the activities available at Chief Seattle Days are the same as the ones from 108 years ago. Such as the great salmon bake, canoe races, baseball tournaments, drumming and dancing and a memorial service for Chief Seattle.
Over the years more activities, such as Coastal Jam, which invites tribes from all around the Puget Sound to come and participate in the celebration. There is also a fun run, pow wow, and the Chief Seattle Days Youth Royalty Pageant.
“We are looking forward to welcoming the community to Chief Seattle Days, the Suquamish Tribe’s annual celebration of culture, family, canoe racing and salmon dinners,” said Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman.
“This is, most importantly a time to pause each year to honor our ancestral leader, Chief Seattle, who lived here and is buried in the Suquamish Cemetery,” Forsman noted.
Chief Seattle died on June 7, 1866 at the age of 86.
“At our annual graveside ceremony, we will remember Chief Seattle’s legacy and continue it into the future through stories of his life and the presence of our young Chief Seattle Days Royalty,” Forsman said.
The Chief Seattle Days Royalty Pageant began in the 1960’s and is a scholarship program for Suquamish Tribal members and descendants. Participants must be between the ages of 5 and 18. The pageant is split into four categories, Miss Chief Seattle Days for girls ages 13-18, Junior Miss for girls 5-12 and Chief Seattle Warrior for 13-18 year old boys and Junior Warrior for 5-12 year old boys.
Participants in the pageant that become Chief Seattle Days Royalty, hold their title for a whole year and have responsibilities to fill as royalty. For example, welcoming guests during cultural events such as the Tribal Canoe Journey or participating in traditional inter-tribal dances.