According to ancient tradition, if the first salmon caught each season is treated with reverence, his spirit will return to the salmon village under the sea, where he will gather his relatives and lead them back to the rivers and streams. If the salmon is not treated with proper reference, his people will not return.
As salmon begin to return to the waters of South Puget Sound in late July / early August, the Squaxin Island Tribe invites the public to join in celebrating their return in sacred ceremony. In addition to hundreds of pounds of alder-smoked salmon, the Tribe serves other traditional delicacies, including clams, mussels and fry bread.
The Tribe’s annual First Salmon Ceremony takes place at the Arcadia Boat Launch at the head of Totten and Hammersley Inlets. There is no charge for attending the traditional event, but guests are asked to refrain from taking photographs while the salmon’s spirit is being released.