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Delegates from the Port Madison Reservation (Suquamish Tribes) celebrate Christmas at Tulalip on December 25, 1876.

HistoryLink.org Essay 8827 : Printer-Friendly Format

On December 25, 1876, delegates from the Port Madison Reservation (Suquamish Tribes) celebrate Christmas at Tulalip. On Christmas Eve, a delegation from the Suquamish Tribe comes to speak to the new Tulalip Indian agent, Edward Mallett. They have heard that their tribe is to be moved to another reservation. Mallett greets them and assures them that the rumor is without truth. He invites them to camp there and join Christmas Day celebrations hosted by retiring agent Father Eugene Casimir Chirouse (1821-1892) and the Mission school teachers, students, family, and friends of St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church.

A Joyous Christmas Day 

A rumor had circulated among the Suquamish Tribes of the Port Madison Reservation that they were to be moved to a different location.  Since the Tulalip Reservation was the regional Indian agency, the delegation traveled there to learn of their fate. They arrived on Christmas Eve 1876 and were greeted by both Father Eugene Casimir Chirouse and the new Indian agent, Edward Mallett, who assured them that no such move was planned.  Mallett invited them to join their Christmas celebrations.

Both a midnight mass and Christmas Day service were held in the Mission church. On Christmas Eve, children of the Mission school sang and gave recitations. Father Chirouse delivered his service in the Snohomish dialect and also served as translator for agent Mallett. A gift exchange followed, each student, teacher and guest receiving a gift as well as candy or fruit. Christmas songs were sung and the occasion concluded with a Benediction. It is recorded that the Port Madison Indians were able to return to their own reservation with anxieties replaced with the warmth of the Christmas spirit.

Sources:
Mary B. Koch, “Christmas at Tulalip, 1876,” The Catholic Northwest Progress, December 12, 1958, p. 19.


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Related Topics: American Indians | Northwest Indians |

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Father Chirouse posing with students at Tulalip Indian School, Tulalip, 1865
Photo by W. F. Robertson, Courtesy UW Special Collections (Neg No. NA1498)


 
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