Today, thirty chinook salmon returned to the Columbia River, blessed by the people who have missed their spirit since the dams blocked their journey. The Colville Confederated Tribes Fish and Wildlife Department with Chief Joseph Hatchery provided the salmon and the people carefully, hand by hand, released them into the river at the NetPens RV Park in Lake Rufus Woods of the Columbia River, between two dams: Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee Dam. Before the release, prayer were sung and during the release Dan Nanamkin sang the drum song of Chief Salmon.
Everyone: guests, tribal members, elders, families formed the lines to carry the sacred gift back to its home. In the video, you hear and see joy, laughter, helpfulness, and welcoming in the words and deeds of the resilient people of the Colville Tribes.
Two young girls across from my place in line were grateful for their participation. One said to the other, “Those that get slapped are blessed.” And wouldn’t you know it, when the next black rubber bag reached my hand, the salmon’s tail slapped against my hand. Blessed by the salmon and the day when for the first time in sixty-four years, Chinook Salmon swim free in the Columbia River near Nespelem, Wa.
Many of my former students and their parents and families helped in the line, in the ceremony, and in the releasing of the sacred salmon. A blessed day indeed.
For why this is important, see The Star News
See the Colville Confederated Tribes information: Salmon
and their video, Salmon and Our People
Salmon and Our People by Colville Confederated Tribes
Photos by Sheri, except of the Salmon by Dan Cook, DFWS, public domain