News from the Pacific Northwest

Teens get an early taste of college

LUMMI, Wash. – Sixty-five American Indian high school students, ages 15 – 18, participated in a summer studies program offered by Northwest Indian College.

The teens rubbed elbows with college students and studied two of the following courses: science education, English/reading, cultural arts, Lummi language, drama and physical education.

NIC also tutored students preparing to take the state-required Washington Assessment of Student Learning. Students must show mastery of the WASL test subjects in order to graduate from high school.

Students enrolled in the physical education classes participated in a five-part sailing program, then learned to golf.

Participants in the summer program, which ended Aug. 4, earned credit toward their high school diplomas, but organizers said they hope the students are not only inspired to go on to college but are prepared to be there.

<b>Squaxin’s First Salmon ceremony</b>

ARCADIA, Wash. – The Squaxin Island Tribe’s First Salmon ceremony and feast was scheduled for Aug. 11 at Arcadia Point.

The Squaxin people of South Puget Sound are known as The People of the Water. According to tradition, if the first salmon caught each season is treated with respect, his spirit will return to the salmon village under the sea where he will gather his relatives, tell them of the respect he was given and lead them back to their home stream.

The First Salmon ceremony commenced with drumming and the singing of Coast Salish songs that welcome the salmon. The first salmon harvested by the tribe was carried on a boat with a cedar-covered bow, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission News reported. When the canoe reached shore, the salmon was carefully carried up the beach on a cedar plate, where it was opened and its spirit released. The remains, still surrounded by cedar, were returned to the waters. The first salmon was then cooked over an alder fire and everyone was invited to eat for good luck for the fleet. In addition to salmon, other traditional delicacies were served.

“The Squaxin people have always depended on salmon, and we have always honored them for sustaining us,” Squaxin Vice Chairman Andy Whitener told Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission News.

“Every year we thank the salmon for coming back. In the same way that we welcome the first salmon of the season, we should also protect their home – the rivers and streams – so they will always come back. For years, the salmon have taken care of our needs; now it is time to take care of theirs.”

<b>Spotlight on carver</b>

ANACORTES, Wash. – Carvings by Swinomish/Colville artist Kevin Paul, who also serves on the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community senate, are in the spotlight through Oct. 3 at Scott Milo Gallery, a destination gallery in this city’s Historic District.

Paul’s work was selected for an exhibit that includes landscape pastels by Susan Ogilvie, oils by Dederick Ward, watercolors by Denise Cole and mixed media abstracts by Renate Trapkowski.

In addition, Paul’s cedar carving, “Skagit Sunrise,” was chosen for the cover of invitations to the 12th Annual Spring Art Show, sponsored by Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland. The show was held in May and featured 68 locally renowned artists in pen and ink, painting, photography, sculpture and mixed media.

Paul, 45, comes from a family of traditional carvers. Using red and yellow cedar, alder and pine, he carves in the Coast Salish, Gitksan, Haida, Kwakiutl, Nis’gaa and Tlingit styles.

<b>Jackson named to tourism committee</b>

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Walter Jackson, Quileute, has been appointed an ex officio member of the Washington state Tourism Advisory Committee.

Jackson is the special projects coordinator in Gov. Christine Gregoire’s Office of Indian Affairs. He has served as executive director of the Quileute Indian Nation and has been active in tourism development for many years.

Juli Wilkerson, director of the state Department of Community Trade and Economic Development, announced the appointments of Jackson and 16 others to the committee.

“Tourism is a vital part of Washington’s economy. As a $12 billion industry, tourism employs over 100,000 residents and affects virtually every area of the state,” Wilkerson said in a press statement. “I am confident these appointments will help to create a stronger investment for tourism in Washington.”

The Tourism Advisory Committee was created by the legislature in 1998. New members’ appointments are effective immediately and end June 30, 2007.

<i>Richard Walker is a correspondent reporting from San Juan Island, Wash. Contact him at rmwalker@rockisland.com.