How it Started

When I was 12, I found a blank ledger book. It was a treasure beyond treasure to me. I debated and debated about what to do with it - it had to be something special. Finally I decided to make a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see in my life and then cross them off when I had accomplished them. At first they were simple things, but soon I was adding dramatic things, impossible things, but things still worth dreaming about. Oddly enough, putting them on the list somehow made them attainable. I have kept the book and updated the list my entire life. Here is the story behind some of the entries - successes and failures, embarrassing and proud moments, laughter and tears - the ridiculous to the sublime!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Visit Tillicum Indian Village - DID IT

Tillicum Village on Blake Island in the middle of Puget Sound isn't a real Indian Village, it's more of a reenactment of an Indian Village. Tillicum isn't a tribe, apparently it means "Welcome" in one of the tribal languages in the area. It is, however, a very popular destination that employs a number of Native Americans and does a thriving business on the Native-owned island.

To get there, you hop aboard an Argosy Cruise boat in Seattle at Pier 55. The boat cruises the waterfront with your native guide for a short tour, then heads across Elliott Bay.

When you arrive on the forested island, there is a fire burning to show you the way, plus a welcome song-and-drum serenade on the beach where you are served a steaming cup of clam nectar. You pick the tiny rock clams from the nectar, slurp them from their shells, then toss the shells onto the path where they are crushed underfoot forming a crunchy trail to the longhouse.

In the lodge you can watch your salmon cooking over the alder wood fire. Eventually the doors to the dining room open and after following a circuitous route through the gift shop, of course, you are treated to a fabulous buffet of bread, salads, seasonal roasted vegies - including fire-roasted corn, and the salmon you watched cooking earlier. Dessert is a fruit cobbler made with local berries. In keeping with native tribal customs, you eat in a longhouse-shaped building sharing your table with other guests, but that's where any similarity to an actual Native feast ends. Tables are set with linen cloths and very nice dinnerware, stemmed wine glasses and candles.

There is a professional caliber stage show that is more "Disney" than "Indian", but it's enjoyable for what it is. And, again, it employs a number of Native kids who seem to be enjoying their job. When the show is over, you will have a brief opportunity to wander around the island before your boat whisks you back to civilization as the sun sets.
While some locals might view the whole thing as a bit touristy, it's a Must-Do for visitors to Seattle and a great way to entertain out-of-town guests. Plus it's nice to have a classy, Native American revenue-producing venue that does not involve slot machines and blackjack tables! Tillicum Village is a much more organic experience. I'm not advertising it, but you can check out their website if you are interested in seeing it yourself -

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