First Salmon Ceremonies
Indian Reservations throughout the Pacific Northwest
These annual ceremonies are observed by many tribes in spring or summer, depending on the timing of local salmon runs. According to tradition, the first salmon caught each season is considered a sacred guest, and must be treated with respect. This time-honored event is an opportunity to thank the salmon for returning and for giving its life to feed the people. Contact individual tribes for information about dates and locations; a directory of tribes around the state can be found at www.goia.wa.gov.
SEAFAIR Indian Days Pow Wow
At Daybreak Star in Discovery Park
On the third weekend in July each year, hundreds of dancers in full regalia, dozens of drum groups and thousands of spectators gather to celebrate the richness of Native American cultures.
Destination changes annually
'Canoe families' representing tribes throughout the region travel for two or three weeks each July in large cedar dugout canoes. This journey, which is alcohol and drug free, culminates in a weeklong celebration at the destination village or tribal community. The Canoe Journey is part of the Native Northwest's cultural renaissance, which includes canoe carving, language instruction, and other traditional practices.
Chief Seattle Days
Suquamish, Port Madison Reservation
This historic celebration takes place on the third full weekend in August, and includes traditional dancing, canoe races, Native foods and artwork, and a ceremony honoring Chief Seattle.
American Indian Film Festival
This festival honors independent film by Indigenous Peoples from throughout North America.
When and Where are Visitors Welcome?
Visitors are generally welcome at tribal events held at outdoor venues and in public areas of cultural centers. By contrast, ceremonial or spiritual events are typically not accessible to visitors.
When in doubt, ask if an event is open to the public. It is always respectful to ask permission before taking photographs of individuals.