Quileute Days fetes heritage

Outboard canoe races, salmon bake among events

LA PUSH — A celebration of Quileute tribal cultural heritage and modern lifestyle will send visitors all over La Push today through Sunday during Quileute Days.

Some 40 vendors of food and merchandise, a traditional salmon bake, a street dance, songs, arts and crafts, and softball and horseshoe tournaments are planned along with a traditional salmon bake, outboard canoe races, poker and fireworks.

The celebration has been an annual event for longer than anyone now knows, “longer than living memory,” according to Rio Jaime, events coordinator for the tribe.

The tribe will kick off the weekend with its annual royalty pageant at 4 p.m. today at the Aka’lat Center.

Young people will run for spots as king, queen, princes, princesses and tiny tots. They will be judged both on talent and their knowledge of Quileute culture and language.

Youth and adult softball tournaments will begin today. Traditional dances and stick games are set at the Aka’lat Center.

A poker tournament will begin at 7 tonight at the tribal office.

Participants can just show up, Jaime said. Buy-in is $30. The tribe will prime the pot with $500 offered in addition to the buy-ins.

A highlight of the celebration will be a performance by the Burial Ground Society, a Native American rap group that includes a descent of a Quileute tribal member, Jaime said.

“They have been giving us recognition throughout the country as a rap group that features Native American rappers,” Jaime said.

The performance will be at 8 p.m. today on Main Street. It will be followed by a street dance with DJ Camello, which will begin at 10 p.m. on Main Street.

Another high light of the weekend will be Saturday’s outboard canoe races in which modified dugout canoes with large outboard jet motors are pitted against each other for cash prizes and champion jackets.

“This type of canoe racing is pretty unique to the area,” Jaime said, adding that the only tribes that compete this way live on the Western Washington coast.

The annual races draw participants from the Queets, Quinault and Quileute tribes.

“You can hear them from miles away,” Jaime said. “They’re traveling at high speeds on the water and on skinny canoes that are actually tough to maneuver.”

Also on Saturday will be:

• A noon parade which, as of Wednesday, had about 30 entries. The parade is likely to grow since participants can apply up to the beginning of the parade, lining up at the Quileute Natural Resources building.

• A traditional salmon bake in which king salmon are butterflied on cedar sticks and baked. Fish bake plates will be $15, beginning at 1 p.m. on Main Street.

Here is the schedule:

Today

• 4 p.m. — Royalty pageant, Aka’lat Center.

• 5 p.m. — Adult and youth softball, which will continue all weekend, begins on the softball fields.

• 6 p.m. — Traditional dances, Aka’lat Center.

• 7 p.m. — Traditional stick games, Aka’lat Center; poker tournament, tribal office.

• 8 p.m. — Live music by the Burial Ground Society, Main Street.

• 10 p.m. — Street Dance on Main Street.

Saturday

• 10 a.m. — Stick games.

• Noon — Parade from Quileute Natural Resources Center. Lineup is at 10 a.m. and judging is at 11 a.m.

• 1 p.m. — Traditional Fish Bake, Main Street.

• 2 p.m. — Outboard canoe races, Quillayute River; horseshoe tournament, Adult Softball Field; Kids Zone, Old Community Center.

• 4 p.m. — Kids Race Competition, Main Street.

• 6 p.m. — Talent show, Main Street.

• 10 p.m. — Fireworks and a Street Dance.

Sunday

• 2 p.m. — Outboard canoe races.

• 3 p.m. — Adult and youth softball championships.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].

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