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Mountain inhabitants honored at cross-cultural celebration posted on 09/01/2018

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs will host an all-day ceremony Sept. 22 to celebrate the history of their ancestors, the earliest inhabitants of Mount Hood.

Participants will have the opportunity to experience the traditional culture of the Warm Springs, Paiutes and Wasco tribes at the eighth annual Confederated Tribal Celebration at Skibowl’s west side. The event celebrates the travels to the huckleberry fields near Mirror Lake for a late summer harvest. Some rode, but many walked from their homelands in the lower valleys to gather the food of the forests.

“This land is culturally significant to the members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and we are honored to celebrate their heritage here each September,” said Kirk Hanna, owner of Mt. Hood Skibowl.

Eight years ago, Hanna established a permanent cultural exhibit for the tribes in what was once the Outback Lodge at Skibowl. The building was rededicated as the Wiwnu Wash (translates as huckleberry patches) Mt. Hood Tribal Center.

“What Kirk has done for our tribes is enormous,” said Delson Suppah, coordinator of the tribal celebration. “He has given us the opportunity to tell the truth about this land.”

Suppah traveled to the slopes at Skibowl as a child.

“It touches me when I think about my mother, grandmother and aunts walking up the hills to pick wild huckleberries, carrying baskets while we kids ran and played around,” he said. “By hosting this annual celebration, Kirk is acknowledging that all citizens need to honor and understand the true history of the first inhabitants of this land. People will get to learn about the history of our tribal elders.”

The ceremony kicks off with the arrival of a dozen tribal members on horseback in full ceremonial regalia of handmade buckskin, beads and feathers. The riders will leave Skibowl East at 9:30 a.m. and arrive at Skibowl West for the 10 a.m. opening ceremonies.

Following the symbolic arrival, the day’s events will include comments from tribal elders about the history of the area. There will be a Living Village, tribal dancing and drumming, a salmon bake and tribal arts and crafts venders from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nearly 100 tribal members will participate in the celebration.

A cultural exchange will take place whereby coaches from Interscholastic Mountain Bike teams will provide riding lessons to Warm Springs students. Skibowl has a 30-year history operating the premier mountain bike parks on Mount Hood. After, bike team members will join in the tribal dances.

The noon meal features salmon on sticks, corn on the cob, baked potato, salad and fry bread. Cost of the meal is $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, and can be purchased on site.

Schedule of Events

8 a.m. – Living Village (Tee Pee) and setup

9:30 a.m. – Riders leave Eastside for Westside

10 a.m. – Wa Shut, prayers and welcome from Kirk Hanna

11 a.m. – Ladies from Cultural Heritage in Wiwnu Wash share culture and tradition with guests

Noon – Salmon Bake

1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Dance exhibition/drummers; Interscholastic Mt. Bike Racing coaches offer biking lessons; Bike team participates in dancing

5 p.m. – Closing Ceremony

By Monica Cory/MT

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