Stillaguamish canoe to make its public debut

ARLINGTON — The Stillaguamish Tribe’s new dug-out, shovel-nosed river canoe is to be displayed in public for the first time during the 21st annual Stillaguamish Festival of the River and Pow Wow on Saturday and Sunday at River Meadows County Park.

The canoe, carved from ancient cedar logs from the Stillaguamish River watershed, was a project of Coast Salish scholar and artist Felix Solomon of the Lummi Tribe.

The festival, a free family event, seeks to honor the environment and native cultures of the region, said festival coordinator Franchesca Perez.

“The mission of the festival is to help people who live and work in the Stillaguamish watershed understand how their actions can help make their environment cleaner for people, fish and wildlife,” Perez said. “This year, we are thrilled to be celebrating the opening of Port Susan for shellfish harvest, for the first time in over 20 years.”

The festival features environmental and wellness exhibits, American Indian art and crafts, music on the Big Stage, an educational powwow with dancing and drumming, logging show, nature walks and lots of children’s activities.

People who know the Stillaguamish River watershed plan to be on hand to share their experiences, and talk about water quality and salmon habitat.

“And if you don’t know what a watershed is, we’ll teach you,” Perez said.

The wide variety of activities at the festival are designed to attract all kinds of people, tribal Chairman Shawn Yanity said.

“We want to let people know what the Stillaguamish Tribe’s vision is and educate people about our work with the city, the county and the state to accomplish the goal of enhancing our natural resources,” Yanity said. “It’s about making a better quality of life for the people who live here.”

For more than 20 years, the tribe has offered the event at no cost to the local community. The tribe plans to charge $5 a car for parking.

Events during the festival include a fun run Saturday, a raptor rehabilitation display, storytelling, games, fly tying and casting instruction, craft and food vendors and lots of music.

The Neville Brothers playing funk and jazz, bluesman Charlie Musselwhite and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band headline the music Saturday evening. Country music star Jake Owen plays Sunday evening.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

More information

Stillaguamish Festival of the River, 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, River Meadows County Park, 20416 Jordan Road, east of Arlington. More info: http://festivaloftheriver.com/

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