“Klallam Klallam!” which means, “Strong People”

Clearly, many of us have felt traumatized over the past week of events and are still processing and trying to find a way to move forward. I want to share this story. Yesterday, we drove to the Olympic Peninsula. During our drive, we stopped on the Port Gamble Indian Reservation. After we saw a beautiful bald eagle cross our path which was breathtaking. I read up on who the S’Klallam people were. I learned that the tribe name means “The Strong People”. The reason they were known as the strong people is because:

One day, many tribes gathered at Elwha. The tribes devised a contest of strength to see who could lift a big log to the top of a longhouse being built nearby. Each tribe chose their strongest men. All visiting tribes tried to lift the log, but none were able. It was time for the mighty local tribe to give a try. Knowing logs float, they rolled the large log in the water. Their strongest young men walked in the water until it was up to their shoulders and walked out of the water carrying the log on their shoulders. The men lifted the log to the top for the longhouse. All the other tribes thought the locals must be very strong to put the log up so high and wise to use the water. They all shouted, “Klallam Klallam!” which means, “Strong People”

I feel this is very symbolic of where we are today.  We keep trying to lift this heavy log to build our future and are failing. Since we are from the same body of water maybe we need to step into the water and lift the log together?

We still have so much to learn from the Indigenous people of our lands.

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