Save Chimacum Springs benefit on Saturday

Plan to buy land, build traditional longhouse

CHIMACUM — Local musicians, storytellers and artists will gather this Saturday for the public Save Chimacum Springs benefit concert set for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at H.J. Carroll Park, 9884 state Highway 19.

The Chimacum Springs project, a Black and Indigenous land sovereignty collaboration created by Naiome Dawn Krienke and Chasity Sade-Griffin, is an effort to purchase the land where Sade-Griffin and her family live. In addition, Krienke envisions a traditional longhouse on the site, a place where, she writes on savechimacumsprings.org, her people have gathered for millennia.

Krienke, a Chemakum-S’Klallam descendant, spoke about her hopes to build a longhouse at an April 14 event celebrating the lives of the Chemakum people. That event was the opening of an exhibition of large-scale photographic portraits titled “Still Here,” highlighting Chemakum women, men and families.

Its unveiling at the Chimacum Schools commons drew a crowd of more than 250 last month.

The exhibition of photographs will be open to the public again from noon to 2 p.m. May 28 at the Chimacum Schools commons, aka the multi-purpose room on the campus at 91 West Valley Road.

Now this Saturday’s Chimacum Springs fundraiser is expanding. The lineup so far includes:

• Quinault elder and storyteller Harvest Moon;

• Storyteller and flutist Paul Chiyokten Wagner;

• Song circle leader Aimee Ringle;

• Spoken word artist Jade Evans;

• Drummer-marimba player Linc Mkwananzi;

• Vocalist and cellist Camelia Jade;

• Musician Kalan Wolfe of The Shift;

• Singer and keyboardist Sylvia Heins;

• Guitarist and vocalist Andy Fischer Price.

Admission is by suggested donation of $25 to $25,000, according to the event’s Facebook page, as the project leaders seek to raise $400,000 by the summer solstice on June 21.

Sade-Griffin said this week that she and Krienke were approached by a donor who pledged a large, anonymous contribution.

“We are waiting to see if this gift actually comes through,” she said.

“We are very excited about the momentum of this project,” Sade-Griffin added, “and the level of community support that has come forward.”

Krienke said her ultimate goal is to put the land into an indigenous land trust, which she is currently designing. The property will go up for sale shortly, she and Sade-Griffin added, and they hope to prevent the site from being lost to developers.

On her GoFundMe page for Chimacum Springs, Krienke writes that the longhouse would be open to everyone. It would offer educational programs about indigenous people of the region as well as cultural events — singing, dancing, storytelling — like a living museum.

“For thousands of years, longhouses dotted the shores of the Pacific Northwest coast and were the center of our communities and cultures. This changed after 1790, when the region was contacted and colonized by explorers, missionaries and homesteaders,” Krienke writes.

Longhouses were later prohibited in Washington state, and by the early 20th century, those in this area were dismantled and destroyed, she notes, citing Christina L. Wallace’s 2017 research in “Architecture of the Salish Sea Tribes of the Pacific Northwest: Shed Roof Plank Houses.”

“Many believe that the Chemakum people are extinct,” Krienke adds.

“We are still alive and we are still here. We wish to revive our culture on this land. Now is the time to bring the culture of the longhouse back to Chemakum/S’Klallam territory. Now is the time to remember and uplift the ancestors and descendants of the indigenous peoples of this place. A longhouse could bring much healing to this land and to all of our peoples — both Native and not. I envision this as a place where all are welcome and for all to cherish,” Krienke writes.

“We will need physical help, knowledge and land to make this dream a reality. A community can make this happen. If you want to be involved or have other resources or ideas to contribute, please contact me through this campaign.”

Krienke and Sade-Griffin’s project can be found on gofundme.com by searching for Naiome Krienke, while more information and a contact form can be found at savechimacumsprings.org.

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