Letters to the Editor

New life for an old canoe

On behalf of Island County Historical Museum, I want to offer my sincerest thanks to the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival Association for their generous support of our Old Chief Snakelum’s Canoe Restoration Project. This extremely rare example of a West Coast-style Salish family canoe came to be displayed in Coupeville at the Blockhouse Inn (now our museum grounds) when Charlie Snakelum, the old chief’s son, passed away in the mid-1930s. Since then, time, weather, well-intended repairs and souvenir-seekers have made a mess of this once-majestic, 27-foot example of an incredible Coast Salish canoe.

We are fortunate to have found an internationally known expert in Indian canoe restoration that will perform the difficult task of bringing the canoe back to its gracefully proud appearance. Thanks to the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival Association, the Swinomish Tribal Community and private donors, we are now ready to begin to undertake the extensive process that will ultimately preserve this fine cultural artifact for ours, and future generations to study and enjoy.

We are all so blessed with the troop of dedicated volunteers that are the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival. They put on a first-class event every year, and they give all the proceeds back to their community. It’s no wonder that Coupeville is such a gem. When a community truly cares, it shows! Thank you, Coupeville Festival Association, for caring and for your generosity.

Rick Castellano
Executive Director

Island County Historical Society & Museum


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