Saturday ceremony will honor Chinook heritage


November 4, 2021

Signs such as this at the Elochoman Slough Marina will be dedicated Saturday in a ceremony honoring Cathlamet Chinook tribal heritage. Eagle file photo.

Two permanent signs erected in Cathlamet to honor the Chinook tribes who once occupied this area will be dedicated on November 6, at noon, at the Elochoman Slough Marina.

The signs tell the stories of Queen Sally, canoe building, and greeting the Lewis and Clark expedition. They were funded by a grant from the Lewis and Clark Trail Stewardship Endowment, the efforts of town councilman David Olson, and with cooperation from Tony Johnson, chair of the Chinook Indian Nation.

Olson will act as master of ceremonies for the dedication, and Johnson will be present to offer remarks, along with members of the Chinook Tribal Council.

Expected to be in attendance:

• Direct descendants of Queen Sally, the last Chinook elder of Cathlamet, Mrs. Dale Hambleton of Oregon City and Kristen Simerson of Whidbey Island;

• Scarborough descendant Karla Nelson of Ilwaco and other members of the Scarborough family, a historic Chinook family with roots throughout the lower Columbia, including Wahkiakum County;

• Jena Cook, a member of the Chinook Nation who represented Vancouver in the Mrs. Washington Pageant;

• Congressional representatives;

• Washington State District 19 legislators;

• Wahkiakum County commissioners, and

• Cathlamet town council members.

"This is an unprecedented event in Cathlamet and Wahkiakum County, as the Chinook Tribe, who lived here for thousands of years before Lewis and Clark, and European settlement, is publicly recognized, and acknowledged with the Heritage signs and at the dedication event," Olson said.

The dedication is hosted by Wahkiakum County Port 1, the Town of Cathlamet, and the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce. It is free and open to the public.


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