Last evening, Peter and I went up to Ariel, Washington in the foothills of Mount St. Helen to the Lelooska Winter Dances, presided over by Chief Tsungani Lelooska, clan chief of the Wiummasgum Clan of the House of Lelooska and the House of Sewide (Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), Peter’s carving teacher and our friend.
His wife, Julia Stoll, principal dancer, mother, grandmother, and friend, passed away in September–breast cancer. Julia and I last talked on the phone for over an hour earlier in the spring, and I am so glad to remember that I was able to settle into a big chair and just be with her.
We have seen Julia dance in the Winter Dances for 15 or 20 years. This year, her grandchildren were dancing; there was eight-year old Isaac dancing for the first time as Young Raven. Ten-year-old Mara raced to the Longhouse door to let great Kolus, Young Eagle, in the door.
This poem and digital story are for Julia. No media recording is allowed inside the Longhouse, so I used images from the Lelooska Museum and from our own collection.