In 1946, local residents Victor and Edith Jones planned the first Stommish Water Festival to honor their sons, Bill and Stanley Solomon, and other veterans who had returned from the war. Lummi veterans of World War I welcomed back Lummi soldiers of World War II in a ceremony honoring their service, their bravery, and their commitment to keeping the citizens of our nation and world safe from harm. The first Stommish Water Festival and its honoring ceremony marked the blessed return of our veterans and a return to an important part of our Lummi way of life.
Today, we honor that history and continue to celebrate all of our communities veterans at this annual event.
Decades ago, the veterans were greated against a backdrop of war canoe races on the shores of Gooseberry Point. The waters of Puget Sounds have long been the highways of the Coast Salish people, and canoes have always been a part of out lives, serving as transportation in times of war and peace. The tradition of navigation hand-carved cedar canoes has survived for as long as Lummi has existed, and there are only a few people today who can produce a hand-carved cedar canoe. Just as the craft of canoe building takes time and a skilled hand, the canoe races take incredible deication and training by each canoe club that participates. The war canoe races continue to be a gocal point of the festivities. And it's still an honor to host the races for the many in our community who have served.
In 1946, returning soldiers made up a significant number of all tribal members. Of the 720 members of the Lummi Nation, 104 served in the armed forces and 101 returned safely. Members of the Lummi Nation have always provided military service, some have paid the ultimate price while protecting our country. We're proud of these brave men and women who serve our country with honor. It's their courage, and the bravery of all who serve, that we enjoy the freedoms we have today. And its the reason we continue to come togehter as a community to celebrate all veterans who keep our country safe.
Chairman Tim Ballew II
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