Photo Credit: Mike Graeme
After the first snow, around the winter solstice, it is time for Winter Dance. Different families host dances at different times throughout the snow time, to mark our new year. We pray, dress for our ancestors often in ribbon shirts and wing dresses, and sing and dance and make our road for the coming year. Our songs connect us to our ancestors and all the spirits of the land.
Each year in mid-June near the solstice time when the salmon would have begun their first run, we gather at Kettle Falls, to honor the salmon. We have never wavered in our responsibility to show gratitude for Salmon, even though the falls are now flooded and Grand Coulee blocks ocean salmon from ascending into our territory.
All are welcome to join us. We pray for the Salmon through our songs. It is a tradition to feast together, because sharing food helps feed the ancestors and prayers we have for this fish to return. We hold a “giveaway,” a distribution of gifts to all those who attend to remind us of the abundance we have in life and a reminder to always pray for the land and return of salmon. This generosity is an important practice. Please join us in this sacred obligation.
In 2020, we were unable to host a public ceremony due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, we created this film.