The Mill Hotel at The Mill Casino,
3201 Tremont Avenue Second weekend in September www.themillcasino.com For millennia, indeed beginning many thousands of years before even the Egyptian pyramids were built, the fertile Pacific Ocean sustained Native Americans along Oregon’s coastline. The marine environment of this coast, south of the massive ice-age ice sheets that covered much of the continent until about 12,000 years ago, provided everything the highly adaptable early Americans needed, including salmon runs so robust we can scarcely conceive of such abundance today. These salmon runs shaped indigenous culture and to this day the Northwest Coast tribes celebrate the fish and their profound significance. Perhaps nowhere in the region is this connection between salmon and the first peoples so joyously championed as at the Coquille Tribe’s free annual Mill Luck Salmon Celebration, held at Mill Luck Casino in North Bend. Salmon Celebration is both educational and entertaining, with a variety of demonstrations and interactive events by tribal vendors and craftspeople. One of the highlights is the traditional outdoor salmon bake, in which slabs of fresh salmon are fastened A traditional outdoor salmon bake is to steaks and roasted over a big fire a highlight of the Mill-Luck Salmon pit in the fashion used for generations Celebration. by the local tribes. Tribal members also demonstrate artforms such as drumming and dancing, compete in a traditional-style canoe race, and offer rides to attendees in their beautifully crafted canoes. The races take place Saturday from 9 am to noon, and on Sunday (weather permitting) guests can experience a canoe ride any time between 11 am and 2 pm.
Mill-Luck Salmon Celebration – USA Festivals Photo Gallery
The salmon bake is ongoing both Saturday and Sunday, and for less than the price of a restaurant dinner, attendees at this family-friendly event enjoy a sumptuous salmon meal. Admission to the salmon dinner includes a Salmon Celebration T-shirt; or for a few dollars less, guests can buy just the meal alone. The baked salmon is plated with a variety of sides. Tickets are sold at the casino’s Ko-Kwel Gift Shop; for more information, call (541) 756-8800.
Many—no doubt, most—Oregonians don’t realize the significance of their home state in the field of American archeology, but ongoing research continues to demonstrate not only how long people have lived here, but also how widely dispersed they were and how innovative they have always been in adapting to the land and all it offers. Salmon Celebration offers a chance for visitors to better understand native cultures and appreciate the necessity of promoting intact habitats where native salmon can flourish.