Blessing of fleet honors Lorraine Loomis, tribal fishers

Honoring tradition, elders and salmon


A NEW FISHING SEASON BEGINS – Swinomish members processioned down Pioneer Parkway May 13 as part of the annual Blessing of the Fleet and First Salmon Ceremony. The ceremony resumed after a two year coronavirus pandemic pause. – Photo by Marissa Conklin

Lorraine Loomis died nine months ago but her presence was clearly felt Friday during the Swinomish Blessing of the Fleet and First Salmon Ceremony.

Loomis truly lived for the sacred springtime ritual – a large community-wide feast and program at the tribal youth center followed by a procession through Swinomish Village leading to a solemn shoreline prayer service marked by a moment of silence for lost fishers.

Many of the day’s speakers invoked Loomis’ name, citing her commitment to Native treaty rights, Northwest fisheries and the Blessing of the Fleet and First Salmon Ceremony itself....

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