February 21st, 2018
The Native Americans love to sing. At least, this has been my experience thus far. They offer their songs as gifts, and their listeners accept them as such. The Indians give more than music. Their entire culture seems to be centered on giving and receiving. It goes on constantly.
At every reservation we give the people something. This is done as a ritual. The gift is often something simple; bundles of sage, for instance. We were given presents in return. The Lummi gave us a carved wooden staff. The staff has a head carved to look like a killer whale. Each walker got a scarf or some kind of stone or bracelet, something to remember our visit with the tribe.
The Swinomish gave us other things besides salmon. They chipped in to get us debit cards for gas. They gave each walker a blanket, and three books about the history of the Swinomish.
At each reservation the tribal members seem extremely grateful that we were walking across the country to fight drug abuse and domestic violence. They are very emotional about it. They are thrilled to give us food and lodging. What we are doing is clearly something that touches the Native people deeply.
Tonight we are at the Sauk-Suiattle reservation. It’s deep in the Cascades. It’s snowing here. The people here have also been truly generous to us. They are letting us sleep in their long house. They have fed us well. They have shown us every consideration. I feel honored and somehow unworthy of this selfless love.