Salish tribes gather at Tulalip to set common policy

This week, American Indian and Canadian First Nations leaders will hold talks in their own way: with stories, songs and bits of the rejuvenated Coast Salish languages.

The Tulalip Tribes are hosting the third annual Coast Salish Gathering, which brings together leaders of Coast Salish tribes, a region that stretches from north of Bella Coola, B.C., to as far south as Tillamook, Ore. Hundreds of leaders from the region have gathered in past years, and as many are expected to participate in this year’s gathering.

The gathering is scheduled to begin today and run through Friday.

“This will be a policy dialogue,” said Debra Lekanof, a Swinomish tribal employee and coordinator for the gathering.

The tribal leaders are expected to discuss environmental issues spanning the Salish Sea, the name commonly used in Indian Country for the waterway that flows from south of Seattle, through the San Juan Islands, and up into British Columbia. Officials from Washington state, British Columbia and the U.S. and Canadian federal governments have been invited to join the discussions.

The 2005 gathering was at the Jamestown S’Klallam Indian Reservation on the Olympic Peninsula, and the 2007 gathering was held in Duncan, B.C. There was no gathering in 2006.

The gathering is not open to the public, Lekanof said. Tribal leaders will likely discuss culturally sensitive information, and ancient traditions protected by tribal members may be practiced.

The gathering may result in a public announcement of agreements that have been made, but it’s not clear whether that announcement will be immediate.

Tribal leaders say the gathering is a chance for this continent’s indigenous groups to discuss issues important to them, without having to adhere to another culture’s methods of discussion and decision-making.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist identified in fatal crash near Lake Stevens

Anthony Palko, 33, died Monday night after colliding with a passenger car. The juveniles in the car were taken to the hospital.

Police: Marysville man shot sword-wielding roommate in self-defense

The roommates were arguing over eBay sales, according to police. Then one of them allegedly brandished a two-foot sword.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Everett boy, 12, identified as Davies Beach drowning victim

Malachi Bell was one of three swimmers in distress Sunday in Lake Stevens. He did not survive.

Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

Mike Kersey with Aiya Moore, daughter of Christina Anderson, right, talk about the condition of Nick’s Place in Everett, Washington on June 17, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘We’re all good people when we get clean and sober’

Who has fentanyl taken from us? A messenger who saved lives. A “street mom.” A grandpa who loved his grandkids “999 trillion times.”

Snohomish County Superior Courthouse in Everett, Washington on February 8, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Bailiff’s comments leads to appeal of child rape conviction

Joseph Hall, of Snohomish, was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison. Now he faces another trial.

Jeffrey Vaughan
In unexpected move, Vaughan resigns from Marysville council

He got re-elected in November. But he and his wife moved to Texas when she received a job promotion.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How to answer Snohomish County’s basic crime questions? ‘Transparent data’

An initiative funded in part by Microsoft could reveal racial disparities, while creating an “apples to apples” database.

Chris Rutland and son Julian buy fireworks from the Big House of Boom stall at Boom City on Thursday, June 30, 2022 in Tulalip, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At Tulalip’s Boom City, fireworks are a family tradition

Generations have grown up at the Fourth of July institution. “Some people make good money, some are just out here for the pastime.”

Most Read