Vibrant vibes at student coastal jam

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News

On June 18, the Don Hatch Memorial Gym was filled with the vibrant individuality of Tulalip students and their families, making the End-of-Year Coastal Jam a memorable event. This community-driven gathering was a testament to the unique dancing styles and regalia that are the hallmarks of our culture. It was a master class, with the next generation of culture bearers showcasing their knowledge of our traditional dances and songs, while celebrating their academic achievements and welcoming summer.

Coastal jams, a celebration of our Coast Salish tradition, are more than just a showcase of artistic expression, they’re a vital gathering that weaves the threads of our community bonds and cultural pride even tighter.

As coastal jam participant Kaylikwa Fryberg eloquently said, “These events mean everything; the joy of gathering and being together is special. I cherish events like this and hope everyone else does too; our entire culture means so much to me. Now that school is over, I will be going to Lushootseed camp, where I will learn the language and tell stories.”

Among the dancers were also several drummers and singers, including Image Enick, who said, “It’s important for our younger ones to have a safe place to gather and see their family and participate in their culture. At the same time, we can connect with our ancestors and carry on the traditions of our people. To be able to gather here to do this, is reviving what we lost years ago due to the boarding school. This is a big example of our way of life and how we Coast Salish people live. Our dances and these songs tell the stories.”

When asked what his favorite part about singing and drumming is, Enick replied, “It’s a blessing to be able to give back and share good thoughts and prayers. It warms my heart to pick up my drum and share it with the community.”

Blending vibrant celebration with profound significance, the gathering marked the end of another school year and provided a vital space for our youth to connect with their culture.