Salmon People

For thousands of years, the Lummi people fished reef nets at ancestral sites throughout the Salish Sea. And today, for the first time in more than 100 years, the Lummis are once again fishing a reef net in the waters of Legoe Bay. This weekend, the kids and I were honored to visit with some of the elders and help record their stories for a little film project I’m working on.

photo: Skyla Tomine

That’s me hard at work, or as they say, hardly working, talking fish with (from left to right) Richard Solomon, Steve Solomon, Larry Kinley and Chief Bill James. So much knowledge in this group, I could have spent all day soaking up the wisdom.

The next morning, we were privileged to witness Chief James perform the First Salmon ceremony for the first time on Lummi Island in 100 years. It was so beautiful, and so heartfelt, I had goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes. One of the great experiences of my life, made even more incredible by being able to share it with Skyla and Weston.

When Richard Solomon waded into the water, carrying a sockeye salmon on a bed of cedar boughs, to the beat of a single elk-hide drum and the voices of four men singing an ancient song, I could feel the 10,000 year story of humans and fish evolving together. I could feel it in my bones, and felt lucky to be a part of it.

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3 Comments on “Salmon People”

  1. Chills down my spine as I read. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt experience.

  2. sweenkins says:

    Dylan, You undoubtedly have seen “SaltWater People” The original copy is housed in the Shaw Island library. Scott Miller a then Colorado St grad (from Seattle) made this film while enrolled at Evergreen St College. Brother Dan may have a copy. Kathy Hopkins

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