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Seventy-three years later, Lummi Nation continues to honor them during annual Stommish

Canoe racing brings dozens of canoe clubs to Lummi Nation’s Stommish Water Festival

Forty-seven 11-man canoes race at Lummi Nation's Stommish Water Festival from June 21 to 23, 2019, in Whatcom County, Wash. The festival honors veterans and the Lummi Nation's way of life.
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Forty-seven 11-man canoes race at Lummi Nation's Stommish Water Festival from June 21 to 23, 2019, in Whatcom County, Wash. The festival honors veterans and the Lummi Nation's way of life.

Seventy-three years after Lummi Nation welcomed home its U.S. military veterans following World War II, thousands again gathered in honor of veterans during the annual Stommish Water Festival.

The three-day festival includes a parade, meals and special recognition for veterans and celebrates Lummi Nation’s way of life, including canoe races off Gooseberry Point.

Henry Cagey, chairman of the Stommish Committee, member of the Lummi Indian Business Council and a veteran, estimated that thousands would join the weekend festivities from across the northwest and Canada.

According to the event’s program, the first Stommish was held in 1946 by Victor and Edith Jones in honor of their two sons, Bill and Stanley Solomon, and other Lummi veterans who returned home from World War II.

Of 720 Lummi Nation members in 1946, 104 served in the armed forces and 101 returned home safely, according to the program.

The last Lummi Nation tribal member who served in World War II died last year, Cagey told The Bellingham Herald.

“We actually got to acknowledge him last Stommish, then a week later he passed away,” Cagey said.

Lacey Young is a visual journalist who interned at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, NASA’S Goddard Space Flight Center and Minnesota Public Radio. She’s a University of Montana graduate and life-long Washingtonian.
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