Lummi Nation – Lhaq ‘temish (People of the Sea)
The peoples of the Lummi Nation are the original inhabitants of the land and coastal waters now known as Bellingham and Ferndale in Whatcom County, WA. They are descendants of an aboriginal community that inhabited the San Juan Island archipelago of Washington State.
Their ancestors were a people of the “seasonal round” who spent much of the spring, summer, and early fall hunting and gathering, returning to their permanent village sites for the winter months. Known as the “salmon people,” their oral history pays homage to the Salmon Woman and her Children.
The area is known today as the Lummi Nation on the north side of Bellingham Bay was formed by the Treaty of 1855. The Lummi are the third largest tribe in Washington State, with more than 5,000 members.
Nationally recognized as a leader in tribal self-governance and education, the Lummi Nation is home to the Northwest Indian College, which is accredited as a 4-year, baccalaureate-granting college serving 1,200 students annually from tribes throughout the nation. Educational principals are centered on the belief that a self-awareness program must include a study of Native American culture, values and history.
Connections to the land and water have remained strong among the Lummi People. Many are fishermen and artists, actively preserving their ancient traditions. Each June the community celebrates its past, present, and future at the Lummi Stommish Water Festival, with cedar canoe races, games, song and dance.