Opinion

Jeromy Sullivan: Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe continues to survive





Jeromy Sullivan, the chairman of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, discusses how relocation affected the S'Klallam way of life:
While early residents of Point Julia adopted the housing and clothing styles of the newcomers, these often didn’t protect from the elements. Many S’Klallam became sick, some died. There are numerous stories of families losing young children to the damp, miserable conditions as well as illnesses against which we had no immunities, brought by the white settlers.

Our cultural ability to fish, shellfish, and hunt protected us from starvation. People also shared what they had, so if a family, for whatever reason, wasn’t able to provide for themselves, neighbors and friends stepped in to help. No matter how day-to-day living changed, the core S’Klallam values of family and culture remained. This spirit endures today.

Another aspect of life on Point Julia that closely mirrors today: multiple generations living under one roof. Our culture puts an emphasis on taking care of one another and this often means parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, and other extended family all living together.

The new village at Point Julia was also very different in that it was meant to be permanent. The structures and the homes were built to stay put, not to be packed up and moved from camp-to-camp. A church and a school followed. In fact, the school was made possible by a petition to then-superintendent David H. Wolfle, who granted permission for a new school district and board. Today, many of our young students attend Wolfle Elementary.

Get the Story:
Jeromy Sullivan: S’Klallam Tribe had to adapt to the changing landscape (Kingston Community News 4/7)