July 10, 2012

Twilight and the Quileutes

Today I read a really interesting article about the Quileutes in La Push.  I've been to La Push twice, during trips to Forks in 2010 and 2011 (thanks Twitarded!).  It is clearly not a rich community, and it doesn't look like much has changed there in a long time.  A few pictures I snapped of the buildings in La Push:

Community Center

Old school

Tribal Center

One of the only newer buildings - the new school
Anyway, Crosscut.com just ran an article about the Quileutes that I found interesting, and pretty accurate based on my experiences there. 

Five Quileute boys emerge from a phalanx of drummers. Barefoot and bare-chested, they wear black cloaks and wolf headdresses, and dance, crouch and crawl within the center of a large circle. On the outskirts, women and girls move rhythmically to a chant and steady drumbeat, several of them sporting red and black capes emblazoned with orca or elk, thunderbird or hummingbird. Every generation is represented, from drumming elders to mothers teaching toddlers to follow their footwork.

No souvenir photos of this dance are allowed, only the chance to witness the traditional steps and songs that evoke the tribe's spiritual kinship with wolves, whom K'wati the Transformer turned into the first Quileute people.

The Wolf Dance is at the core of the tribe's identity, and marks the climax of a weekly drum and healing circle, held in the fishing village of La Push, Wash., a few modest homes and buildings strung along a road that winds down to the ocean. This free event, a combination of religious ceremony, public exhibition, cultural exchange and communal catharsis, is remarkable not only for its community spirit but also for its openness to outsiders.

Read the full story here.  Thoughts?  Anyone else fall in love with La Push the second you set foot there?  (It's La Push, baby.) 



  1. I'll probablly never be able to go, but I've always wanted to join one of the Twitarded tours.

    I hold a special place in my heart for Native Americans. Im part Souix nation. My great great grandfather was Little Blackfoot, a tribal chief. The American Government gave him a 'white' name, Frank Denver, when they relocated to a reservation. Can you imagine that? So I understand what the Quiliute tribe is saying when they want to protect their heritage from being trampled by tourists. But at the same time the oppurtunity to educate the curios public is a great oppurtunity, economically and fundamentally.

  2. The Drum Circle is really nice, but casual. When you go, bring a food item to share. They tell you about why they do it. It's for the legends they have, and also to keep kids out of trouble. I enjoyed it.


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