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Elwha Tribe invites public to reflect on one-year-anniversary
It has been nearly a year since the deconstruction of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams began. Reporters and video journalists came from around the world to learn about dam removal and what it means to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.
“Our communities have witnessed wonderful and exciting history,” said Frances Charles, tribal chairman for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. “Thank you to those who are involved and the supporters of the restoration of the magnificent Elwha River.”
The tribe is hosting various free events on Monday, Sept. 17.
A guided tour of the Elwha River is led by tribal elder and river restoration director Robert Elofson. The public is invited to meet Elofson at tribal headquarters, 2851 Lower Elwha Road, Port Angeles, at 9 a.m. Participants must have a vehicle to travel to various locations along the river with him.
Elofson kicks off the evening events with a 5:30 p.m. presentation at the Elwha Klallam Heritage Training Center, 401 E. First St., Port Angeles. Elofson and Charles received an honorable mention in the Conservationist of the Year Award received by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe by Society of Ecological Restoration’s Northwest Chapter for their role in restoring the Elwha River.
There are events to follow later in the evening that will take place at the Elwha Klallam Heritage Training Center. The Indian Voices poetry group will do a reading beginning at 6 p.m. to reflect on the Elwha River, followed by a performance by the Elwha Dance Group.
“Our ancestors are smiling upon our community with pride and we thank them for the teachings they have provided and we are still learning from them,” Charles said.
The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe resides in the Lower Elwha River Valley and adjacent bluffs on the north coast of the Olympic Peninsula just west of Port Angeles. As recognized by the United States in the 1855 Treaty of Point No Point, the tribe has lived in this area since time immemorial.
The tribe's land base initially was acquired by the United States in trust for the tribe in 1935-1936 and these lands were proclaimed as the Lower Elwha Reservation in 1968. Today tribal lands include about 1,000 acres of land on and near the Elwha River.