Submerse yourself in person with limited local field trips in February, to expand your understanding of environmental resilience.
Rick Castellano, Executive Director and Storyteller, Island County Historical Society and Museum; Coordinator with Coast Salish and other indigenous sources.
Jeanie McElwain Ph.D.; M.S.L.S. Trained in research and verification. Life experiences include co-schooling with Navajo children removed from reservation areas, studying with Indigenous elders, and Indigenous family history.
Penn Cove and nearby beaches were richly populated from “time immemorial” by Lower Skagit Peoples who settled on their shores; harvested from its rich waters, forests, and prairies; and lived in complex relationships with members of both nearby and distant tribes.
This tour and field trip will explore where and how these tribes of the Lower Skagit lived before and during the early years of the arrival of non-native cultures.
Starting at the Island County Historical Museum, Director Rick Castellano will orient us to Lower Skagit Penn Cove village sites. Drawing on his rich background in indigenous history he will then lead us through the museum’s “Native People, Native Places” exhibit. This exhibit was created in consultation with representatives of tribes that once lived on or near Whidbey Island, with an emphasis on respect for tribal people’s oral history and traditions.
Next, we will travel to the Long Point/Snakelum Point area where Jeanie McElwain will lead us in a direct exploration of the geography and ecology of these particular villages, as well as living skills and relationships to other Penn Cove and mainland peoples. In particular, we will learn about “Chief” Snetlum, their remarkable leader whose contacts and influence extended far beyond Penn Cove in surprising ways.
Participants will be provided guidelines for visiting other indigenous sites on Whidbey and nearby locations and vetted bibliographies of sources and recommended readings.
We will also discuss the honoring of oral history traditions and how we can best respect the ownership and sharing of the indigenous story.
The Island County Historical Museum: 908 Alexander Street in Coupeville, WA. The museum is located just above the head of the boardwalk to the Coupeville Wharf.
Winter Reminders: Be prepared for wet, windy, and cold conditions during time outside.
If the weather is severely inclement, we will extend our time undercover and shorten our time at the beach.