26th Annual Tseriadun Native Salmon Bake and Honor Ceremony

The Native Salmon Bake and Honor Ceremony is an annual event that honors the native people of our area. It is a time for everyone to come together (native and non-native) to honor indigenous native people especially “the people who lived here, the spirits of the old ones, and all those who walked the trail of tears in Curry County to Siletz” and to share stories, music, food and memories so our history won’t be forgotten.

Artist Rick Cook played an important role in getting this event established at Tseriadun State Recreation Site, which was formerly known as Tseriadun Village when it was inhabited by the indigenous people. The event originally started in 1993, at the Port Orford Heads, as Rick explains in the video. It was moved to Tseriadun (which in Athabaskan means “the place that sticks out” like the point) in 2005. Many more details are in the video:

In the following video, Willie Towner explains the story behind the canoe he built for the event. Willie’s father was Gilbert Towner, respected TuTu’n Elder, who knew the Athabaskan Language. Gilbert gave Language classes for Tribal members and for the Coquille tribe as well.

Modoc Earl shares a story with the group before everyone enjoys the salmon that has been prepared in a Yurok way of cooking, on Redwood stakes, taught by Yurok Elder Grant Pilgrim. Earl is Modoc, Shasta, and one of the bands of Pit River.

And Uncle Speedy shares one last story before the meal is served.

We’ll be adding more personal stories and historical photos of the native people to this website, in the meantime, here are a few more photos from the event.

Willie and the canoe he handcrafted from cedar. Photo by Karen Cooley Jennings.
Artist Rick Cook presents a handcrafted wooden paddle to Willie Towner.
The incredible salmon meal prepared in the Yurok tradition. Doug Barrett and the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians donated the fish for the occasion.
Guests were treated to musical performances, personal stories and history.
Our Honored Elder Enselsun Gilbert Towner
Enselsun Gilbert Towner was born Dec. 12, 1929, to Leslie and Louise Towner at Siletz, Ore.,
Gilbert’s great-grandfather, Enselsun, was War Leader of the Tututni in the Rogue Wars. “Family members have served in WWI and WWII. We uphold the tradition of my great-grandfather. we are Americans.” Sergeant Towner was a Korean War Marine, surviving the Chinese Spring Offensive at the Chosin Reservoir.
Gilbert attended and oversaw the Tseriadun Honor Ceremony and Salmon Bake for 14 years.
He sadly crossed over in 2009. We certainly miss him.

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2 Comments

  1. Noch.nos.sia a.k.a. Willie Towner

    Thluke’ hemutz ne’ itsla….( we should never give up on our spiritual journey! ) Thank you for your time n efforts in creating this footage. We have soooooooo much more to offer and share. Especially about #REALHISTORY !! #wearestillhere

  2. You are welcome, Willie → Looking forward!

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