I wanted to introduce you to our Cruise Director, Jim Sullivan. He will be guiding us on our 45 minute boat cruise to the Island, then leading us through the time we spend at the Longhouse.
Tell us a little about how you came to be a Cruise Director for Tillicum Village...
I was simply asked if I would like to do it because I had shown an interest in the artistic & historical aspects of the NW Coastal Native American culture. ...I began to develop more passion for the oral history, art & spirit life of NW Coast Indians.
What Native American groups used Blake Island for a gathering ground?
I've had a hard time confirming specific tribes rather various tribes within the Coast Salish geography regularly used the Island for camping as it was centrally located between the Pacific Coast & the greater Seattle area as they migrated through these areas while fishing, hunting & foraging... Likely tribes would be: Suquamish, Duwamish, Mukelshoot, Puyallup, Skokomish & others...
Why don't they live there today?
The Suquamish Tribe gave up their claim to the Island when they signed the the Point Elliot Treaty in 1855.
We will be spending a couple hours on the Island before the show. What would you suggest our guests see and do in that time?
Enjoy the views of Mt. Rainier (if it's out) while beach combing to the left of our Longhouse. Go on a nature walk to "West Beach" & sitting in the sand. Hiking around the whole island ~ 1.5hrs, 2 hrs allows a picnic break. Connecting to the "spirit energy"...
What surprises most guests when they come to Blake Island for the first time?
The physical beauty & solitiude - and yet so close to Seattle...
Why do you think it is appropriate to blend technology with the dances that we will see at the Longhouse?
Native American Culture involves an oral history - technology allows the stories to be told by a tribal member who learned them in the traditional way & pass them on orally to more people than could be done one on one.
What is the best part of the show?
My favorite part is the "mask dance" near the end of the show.
We will be enjoying lunch at the Longhouse. I have been there many times, and my favorite item is the bean salad. What is your favorite menu item, Jim?
The clams! - they are fantastic. I love the taste and discarding them and crushing them on the paths. The NW stew is also unique & quite good. And the warm Tillicum Bread is popular- you can even take a loaf home with you.
It's going to be a fantastic trip, Jim! I am truly looking forward to it! Thanks for the Interview!