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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Heritage Day lets community explore tribe’s history, culture

The Spokane Tribe’s Heritage Day returns for its sixth year. (File)
The Spokane Tribe’s Heritage Day returns for its sixth year. (File)

The Children of the Sun will shed light on their history and culture next week at an event open to everyone.

Most attendees at the Spokane Tribe of Indians’ free Heritage Day, in its sixth year, are students on field trips. But all are welcome, said Tammy Kieffer, the event’s coordinator.

The event features performances and displays highlighting the tribe’s culture, part of its effort to provide “continued education that Spokane is on the traditional homeland and territory of our ancestors,” Kieffer said. Kieffer also is lead coordinator for the tribe’s West End youth center, west of Wellpinit, Washington.

Attended by more than 1,000 people last year, the event has a hands-on, interactive bent.

Drummers and singers will perform at an opening ceremony, and members of the tribal royalty will appear in regalia.

Then participants can check out displays and activities exploring aspects of the tribe’s heritage.

Wildlife displays will use hides and skulls to highlight elk, deer and other animals important to the tribe. A “living river” display will include live salmon.

They’re also hoping to include an eel this year, Kieffer said.

People can use beads to make necklaces and bracelets, get feathers painted on their faces, learn about the Salish language, and listen to stories from tribal elders.

“We have a story for everything, you know,” Kieffer said, laughing. “They’re a lot of fun to listen to and watch, and the kids really take that in and remember it.”

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