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 traveled the trail of tears from Southwest Oregon to Siletz” and to share stories, music, food and memories so our history won’t be forgotten.

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:

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.

More Photos of the event at Tseriadun

Willie and the canoe he handcrafted from cedar. Photo by Karen Cooley Jennings.



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.

Photos and More From Earlier Years

Grant and Aggie Pilgrim co- founders of the Port Orford Salmon Bake and Honor Ceremony in 1993. This photo was taken on Fort Point. Grant and Aggie led prayer in remembrance of the Natives who died at battle Rock. Grant was Lower Klamath and Yurok. Grant Pilgrim passed in 1996. We still cook the salmon the way he taught us.






Shiela Jim Rich this was one of the coolest trips we went on!

Posted by Becky Gaines on Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Preparing and blessing the cedar log that will become the Cow Creek Canoe at Tseriadun, May, 2014. Video by Becky Gaines. Jim Rich on the chainsaw. Earl and David Huitt drumming.

Naming ceremony of Cow Creek’s new canoe, “Nahankuatana”, at Tseriadun Honor Ceremony, Nahankuatana is a prehistoric tribal entity of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians.


There hadn’t been an Indian Canoe on Garrison Lake since Port Orford Jakie plied his, back at the turn of the 20th century. Willie Towner, descendent of Mackanotin (Mikono-tunne) Rogue River people, along with Coos, Coquille, Warmsprings and Cow Creek Canoe Families reintroduced Native canoes to the lake in 2013.
Port Orford Jakie
Chemetunne ( North Mouth of Rogue River)
Jakie lived in Port Orford in the early 1900’s. Old time Locals recalled him paddling his dugout canoe on Garrision Lake.




Fire and Feather Dance at Port Orford Dock Beach night before Tseriadun Honor Ceremony/Salmon Bake




Aggie Pilgrim and Gilbert Towner
At Tseriadun about 2008



Klamath Bear Dance 2018


Bill Van Pelt and Kyle Towner Preparing Fish 2011



Returning Salmon Bones to the Ocean.




Shiela and Jim Rich at Agate Beach, Tseridaun State Park



Kyle Towner and Catherine Dupaquier
making a cedar bark mat to put the fish bones on



” Putt’er Over Thar”
Moving tables at Tseriadun, Rick Cook, Gary Wickham and Bill Van Pelt


Aggie Pilgrim and Speedy Fry checking the fish, Bev Fry, Gilbert Towner and Bill Van Pelt
In the background, 2003 Heads Wayside State Park.




Grandma Aggie, 2003 Heads Wayside State Pork
Sitting next to Aggie is Bev Fry and then Gilbert Towner
Foncy Prescott standing





Going Sunwise, Barry Joyce and grandson Malakai, Tim Lobato, Dallas Socia, Unknown and Rodney Fisher,  2003, Heads Wayside State Park.



Donny and Victor Fry Standing, unknown talking with Gilbert Towner
A little colder day at the Heads Wayside State Park
Everyone is sittin close to the fire.



Jerry Hall drum with Dallas Socia, Rick Cook, Susan Parker and Nalen Hall
Port Orford Heads State Park 2001
Drawn by visiting artist Willow Zheng



Grandma Agnes Baker Pigrim
She is the oldest member of her tribe, the Takelma . She is also the Granddaughter of Jack Harney, the first elected Chief of the Confederated Tribe of Siletz. For over 15 years Grandma Aggie led the Ceremony, first on the Port Orford Heads and later at Tseriadun.


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 was fluent in his Tututni/Mackanotin Language, giving classes to Lower Rogue and
Coquille tribal Members.
He sadly crossed over in 2009. We certainly miss him.



Our friend Bill
We miss you!





The following is a 2008 Newspaper article about our Tseriadun Ceremony.

Port Orford Today
May 22, 2008
Indian Honor Ceremony
By Ron Daves

Last Sunday at Tseriadun Day Use Park, people started arriving at about 8am. The crowd continued to grow until about 10, when we heard the boom, boom, boom coming our way from where the crowd was gathering. From our camp host’s motor home, we could see men digging a hole in the lawn.

Normally, this would be the harbinger of a big problem for a camp host. However, this was a gathering of several of our Indian tribes having an “Honor Ceremony and Salmon Bake”. The organizer had cleared the gathering and digging of a fire pit with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. There were people of Indian heritage from Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians, which includes the Tututin and Takelma Tribes. Also attending were people from the Coos, Coquille and Karuk.

We sauntered into the crowd and found ourselves in a “Friendship Circle”, where everyone joined hands and rotated in a clockwise direction to the cadence demanded by the drum beats. Next, the circle broke into two lines and the lines proceeded to pass one-another with each person shaking hands with the person across from him. Nice way to interact with everyone.

Following that, an Elder, Gilbert Towner, 79 years of age, from Idaho, called everyone to an “Elder-Speak” gathering, Mr. Towner, known as “Enselsun”, and 84-year old Aggie Pilgrim spoke to the respectful group about loving one another and respecting our rivers and streams, among other uplifting subjects.

Aggie Pilgrim told of her world travels with 12 other grandmothers from various countries. This group of 13 grandmothers has spoken worldwide, even to the Pope, about respecting our rivers and streams and not turning them into garbage dumps.

Next, the Wild Salmon, which was cooked on sticks by the fire in the hole the men had dug, was served together with fry bread. We had eaten lunch shortly before the salmon was served, so we took our fish home for dinner. It was delicious. This was a great day for myself and my wife, Sandra, to enjoy these gentle people and to experience their history and customs.

Photo by Rebecca Malamud

“Honoring Those Who Came Before Us”

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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. Looking forward!

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