No Twilight Saga Here: Celebrate Accurate Quileute Culture at Quileute Days
Lisa J. Ellwood
Quileute Days history and culture is not what Hollywood has portrayed - List of additional pow wows below.
Quileute Days is a great opportunity for the huge fanbase of the Twilight novels and film series to learn about the true history and traditions of the Quileute Nation that fiction writer and film producer Stephenie Meyer portrayed as vampire-battling Native American shape-shifting werewolves.
The Quileute Nation holds its annual Quileute Days celebration this weekend, July 14 through 16 in La Push, Washington. Traditional events include canoe races, stick games, and dances. Other family-friendly festivities include live music from the Jones & Fischer Band, street dancing featuring DJ Raul and a talent show. Events for youth include a Kids Zone at the Old Community Center, softball, a 5K Family Fun Run, and kids games.
The real culture of the Quileute Nation is not in agreement with the Twilight Series. The tribe has no stories of Vampires known as the ‘Cold Ones,’ but their ancient creation story does recall that the Nation are the descendants of wolves:
“The Quileutes were changed from wolves by a wandering Transformer,” says the tribal history on the Quileute website. “By legend, their only kindred, the Chimakum Tribe, were washed away by flood and deposited near present-day Port Townsend (where they lived until Chief Seattle’s Suquamish Tribe wiped them out in the 1860s), leaving the Quileutes with no known relatives on earth.”
As then-Director of American Indian Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (and informal voluntary Advisor to the tribe) Angela R. Riley stated in her 2010 NYT article Sucking the Quileute Dry:
“ALL the world, it seems, has been bitten by “Twilight.” Conservative estimates place revenue generated from Stephenie Meyer’s vampire chronicles — the books, movies and merchandise — in the billion-dollar range. Scarcely mentioned, however, is the effect that “Twilight” has had on the tiny Quileute Nation, situated on a postage stamp of a reservation, just one square mile, in remote La Push, Wash.”
“The Quileute are eager to share their tribal culture, even if the interest in it was created primarily by Hollywood. Like indigenous peoples around the globe, the Quileute want to be meaningful participants in the treatment of their own cultural property. This means, first and foremost, having their sovereignty and their culture respected by outsiders.”
Riley’s assertions are further underscored by the ongoing Truth vs Twilight project, an online collaboration between the Quileute Nation and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture: “In the wake of the popularity of the book and film saga, the Quileute Tribe has been forced to negotiate the rights to their own oral histories, ancient regalia and mask designs, and even the sanctity of their cemetery,” Dr. Deana Dartt-Newton writes on the website.
“The phenomena of the Twilight series has had vast economic benefits for Summit Entertainment, Stephenie Meyer, the tiny town of Forks, Washington, and even Nordstrom department stores, but the Tribe whose culture was represented for background fodder in the teenage love story, has seen little benefit.”
Quileute Days La Push 2009 Sweet Song
Quileute Days Outboard Canoe Race 2013
Here is a select list of pow wows happening across Turtle Island July 14th through July 16th:
Mii-Gwitch Mahnomen Days Traditional 55th Annual Pow Wow, July 14-July 16
Leech Lake Reservation – Ball Club Grounds
6 mi. W of Deer River MN on US 2
Ball Club, MN 56636
For more information visit the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe website or Facebook page.
Robert Woolery Senior Memorial Pow Wow, July 14-July 16
Missouri State Fairgrounds – Agriculture Building
2503 West 16th Street
Sedalia, MO 65301
For more information visit the Robert Woolery Senior Memorial Pow Wow web listing or Facebook page.
LCO Honor the Earth Homecoming Celebration and Pow Wow, July 14-July 16
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School
8575 North Round Lake School Road
Hayward, WI 54843
For more information visit the Honor the Earth Homecoming Celebration and Pow Wow web listing or Facebook page.
Campo Kumeyaay Nation 22nd Annual Star Gathering, July 15
Campo Indian Reservation
36190 Church Road
Campo , CA 91906
For more information phone 619 938-6047 or 619 478-9093.
Check out our Pow Wow listings here (updates ongoing).
Attention Pow Wow organizers:
You can also update your information on our pow wow email list. By adding your email, you’ll enable us to contact you on select pow wow updates & announcements. We will only send a few emails each year, and it will only be used by our internal pow wow team.
Add your email for the pow wow email list here: http://eepurl.com/bOY8ir
If you are not a pow wow organizer, please be sure to send them this article.
Follow ICTMN Correspondent Lisa J. Ellwood on Twitter at www.twitter.com/IconicImagery