Dancing through time: Inaugural Wisdom Keepers’ gathering

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News

It was a rainy and windy day on Saturday, December 2, creating the perfect atmosphere for seniors to gather inside the Gathering Hall for the inaugural Honoring our Wisdom Keepers event. More than 200 people attended the ceremony, paying tribute to the eldest Tulalip tribal members. The gathering featured heartfelt speeches and an entertaining dance contest.

Handmade gifts crafted by Tulalip artists, such as sachets, cedar hats, clackers, and a beautiful drum, added a touch of tradition to the occasion. The eldest tribal female, Dale LaMont, aged 94, born on February 1st, 1929, and the eldest tribal male, Herman Williams Sr., born on February 13, 1929, were celebrated with eloquent words from their friends and family members.

Following the recognition, a lunch was served, providing an opportunity to share stories and pay tribute to Herman for his many years of dedicated service to his tribe and his people.

“My life has been dedicated to the Tribe for 45 years on the council,” Herman said. “Many things have happened, and there are a lot of people sitting here who were a part of this life that we tried to accomplish. They never get congratulated or complimented or anything like that. I’m proud of everybody that’s here. I was conversing with people who talk about what they did, and people don’t realize it takes people to create our world here.”

“First of all, I want to thank Herman for being in my life,” tribal member Rhonda Gobin said. “I go down memory lane, and I feel so honored to be standing here at his age of 94. When I think back, I think of Herman. I know all the things he’s done for our people, where his heart is today, and why it’s where it is. His true feelings have come out, and he expresses how he felt about it because that’s Herman. That’s his job to continue while he’s here, and we’ll take all we can get because he has given me a lot.”

The day’s festivities concluded with a dance party, where contestants competed for cash prizes.