Family Canoe

Tsimshian Haayuuk Dancers

Swil Kanim

Peter Ali

Lou LaBombard

The Shifty Sailors

Cindy Minkler

J.P. Falcon Grady

Rosie James


Penn Cove Water Festival - 2016

2015's Penn Cove Water Festival continues our renewed focus on the cultural history of the region, and once again brings back all time favorite performers, new performers, and the fun, family atmosphere that is unique to the festival.

The Penn Cove Water Festival Association is a small nonprofit organization consisting of community members from the Town of Coupeville, Port of Coupeville, South Whidbey, Orca Network, Beachwatchers, Native Tribal representatives and Skagit Valley College. This committee has been working tirelessly to revitalize the festival and take it in a direction of more traditional Native American culture and traditions with emphasis on Native education and the importance of environmental resources as it relates to Native traditions.

2015 is the 24th year of the new Penn Cove Water Festival, bringing the historic Water Festival to a new life as our Native community and neighbors participate in their annual tribal canoe races, and townspeople gather to celebrate our history and the waters that surround us.

Our community saw its first Water Festival back in 1930. While only eleven-man canoes participated in the first Water Festival, subsequent years brought larger canoes as well as over twenty-two tribes gathering each year to participate in races and share their heritage with the population of Penn Cove.

The Penn Cove Water Festival Association hopes to bring that spirit back to life by educating us on our Native community with not only tribal canoe races but increased Native arts and crafts, demonstrations, storytelling, dance performances, artist demonstrations, authentic Native foods, children's activities, and exhibits and displays.


Help us by volunteering the day of the festival. Volunteers are needed to assist the performers, artists, racers, and children's crafts. Email members of the committee for more information. See you there!


2015 Performances

NOTE: FRIDAY, May 15, 8:00 PM 
Storytelling around the bonfire at Pacific Rim Institute with Lou LaBombard, Anthropologist and Lecturer

The Penn Cove Water Festival features the following performances in downtown Coupeville during the Water Festival:

10:00 am to - 10:45 am - Shifty Sailors, Sea Shanties and Maritime Music - Farmers Market and into town

PCWF President Vicky Reyes, Mayor Nancy Conard, & Samish Cultural Development Coordinator Rosie James

11:15 am - The Shifty Sailors - Main Stage

11:45 am - Storytelling by Lou LaBombard - Main Stage

12:00 noon - FESTIVAL WELCOME - Canoe Launch
PCWF President Vicky Reyes & Mayor Nancy Conard

12:30 pm - JP Falcon Grady - Main Stage

1:00 and 3:00 PM - "Our Sacred Responsibility: The Totem Pole Journey 2014" (The Battle of Cherry Point) - United Methodist Church, 608 N Main St, Coupeville

1:15 pm - Swil Kanim - Main Stage

2:00 pm - Cindy Minkler - Main Stage

2:45pm - Peter Ali - Main Stage

3:30 pm - Solana Booth - Main Stage - NO SHOW

3:30 pm - Storytelling by Lou LaBombard - Museum Basement

4:00 pm - Tshimshian Haayuuk Dancers - Traditional and ceremonial dances involving you, the audience - Main Stage

5:00 pm - End of Festival

In-between performances, we'll hear updates of the Canoe Races, festival history, the art show, and opportunities to visit the Native Spirit Art Show and the Native Vendors on Front Street, and meet the performers. Races are viewed from the Wharf, along Front Street and/or at the Boat Launch in Capt. Coupe Park.



Performer Descriptions/Bios:

The Tsimshian Haayuuk Dancers
Members of the Tsimshian Haayuuk Dancers are from the Tsimshian Tribe along the northern coast of British Columbia, Canada and Southeast Alaska. The group is based in Seattle. The purpose of the group is to:
* Serve as an outlet for Tsimshian Culture
* Bring awareness of the Tsimshian culture to the general public and other tribes
* Perform at Indian and non-Indian events

The nucleus of the group formed out of a committee that, in 1996, hosted the first modern potlatch in Seattle. The one day potlatch hosted, gifted, and fed more than 1,500 people. The group's intent was to perform at this single event, but decided to stay intact. Since 1996, the group has performed in the Seattle area, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and at other events outside the Pacific Northwest such as the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis and in Orlando at Disney World.

Each dance reflects a Tsimshiam interpretation of common themes such as fishing, hunting, first contact with non-Indians, family history and our relationship with the spirit world. Unique highlights of the group are:
* Theatrical and choreographed dances
* The use of wood box drums unique to the Tsimshian tribe
* Handmade dance regalia consisting of button robes, masks, and headpieces.

Swil Kanim
Swil Kanim is a world class virtuoso violinist who advocates self-expression to create stronger community.

He intertwines his music with storytelling, poetry, and audience interaction. His original compositions are mesmerizing and inspiring to all ages alike, so bring the whole family when he is performing.

Swil Kanim is a popular key-note speaker and also a notable actor; he starred as "Mouse" in Sherman Alexies highly acclaimed movie The Business of FancyDancing.

Swil Kanim has been featured on KIRO TV NEWS, National Public Radio's Earth on the Air, Northwest Public Radio, NW Cable News Network and the Canadian Chum Networks New Canoe.

In addition to appearing in 24 episodes of CBS's Northern Exposure, his music and acting ability were highlighted by starring in Sherman Alexies critically acclaimed The Business of FancyDancing.

He was selected to perform as part of the Bellinghams Sister City Program in Teteyama, Japan where he continued on to Seoul, Korea for a memorial/reunion concert for orphans of the Korean Conflict.

The Indigo Girls asked Swil Kanim to be their opening act in Seattle to kick off the Honor the Earth Concert tour of North America.

Swil Kanim also performed for five years with the Growth and Prevention Theater Company (GAP Theater), based out of Seattle. The GAP Theater Company presented professional plays about racism and varying forms of bigotry for institutions across the Great Northwest.

He has done school assemblies for elementary and secondary education in Washington State, British Columbia, Canada, and in Sitka Alaska.

He has performed for the staff and participants of Re-habilitation Centers across the state of Washington.

At the American Indian Film Awards in San Francisco, Swil Kanim performed on stage, he was featured on the soundtrack of a documentary about Indian Boarding Schools, which won the Best Documentary award.

Swil Kanim has received the Certificate of Virtuosity from the Whatcom Chapter of the Washington State Music Teachers Association, the Bellingham Municipal Arts Award for Promoting Self-Expression in Community, and Woodring College of Education Professional Excellence Award.

In February of 2004 he perfomed with Andre Feriante and Paulo Cesar at Benaroya Recital Hall in Seattle, WA

Peter Ali
The lifting notes of the Native American flute reminds us of a time when this music was played for courtship, healing, and during rituals. Peter Ali brings a unique collection of his Native flutes and contemporary songs that only come from the heart. Self taught and playing for nine years Peter has performed all over the Puget Sound in the past four years, and has played for the Dalai Lama last May. Peter is descended from his Mother who is of Yaqui heritage from Bacadehuachi Sonora Mexico and a Father who's people are the Berber tribes of Morocco, North Africa. Peter continues the flute tradition as his Grandfather was also a flutist.

The Shifty Sailors
The Shifty Sailors are a male singing group from Whidbey Island and are UNIQUE because they are one of the only large groups in the US dedicated to a nautical repertoire. They are well known for their enthusiastic singing and crowd-pleasing presentations. Their main mission is to make sure the surrounding maritime communities understand their own nautical history and do this by singing at festivals, senior centers, schools and any other venue where they are invited to share their songs with the public.
The Shiftys consider themselves Ambassadors of Whidbey Island, the State of Washington and the United States when they travel which they have done so extensively to perform in such places as Bergen, Norway in 2001; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Denmark in 2003; Ireland, Wales, England and France in 2005; Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Main Seaports in 2007; Lahaina and Kihei on the Island of Maui in 2009; Cesky Krumlov and Prague in the Czech Republic - the first American group to perform at the International Shanty Chorus Festival in 2010; and a West Coast Tour from Aberdeen, WA to Monterey, CA in 2013

J.P. Falcon Grady
A self-taught acoustic guitarist, singer, songwriter and a proud member of the Blackfeet Nation. Performs originals and covers all over the Northwest, Montana and Hawaii as both a solo artist and with his band "J.P. Falcon Band". J.P. Falcon plays many music genres with expert skill. The band can ROCK and get the dance floor hoppin' as well as sing ballads and love songs that have brought fans to tears. The J.P. Falcon Band is a sure crowd pleaser and his stunningly smooth voice and killer pipes are sure to impress.

Louis LaBombard
Louis LaBombard is a tenured professor of Anthropology at Skagit Valley College, Whidbey Campus where he has taught for 18 years. He teaches classes in Anthropology, Native American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Global Issues and Sociology, and is the Chair of the Social Science Dept.

Professor LaBombard holds several degrees in Anthropology and Sociology. Lou has lectured for many groups as a professional, international teller of Native American oral traditions, and has been a head singer and traditional dancer and MC, "whip man" and judge at Pow Wows around the country. Prior to coming to S.V.C. he was the chair of the Social Sciences Dept. of Navajo College, Tsaille, Arizona. His family has been here for 22 years.

Lou is a Seneca-Mohawk (Haudenosaunne) of the Iroquois confederacy, Wolf and Heron clans. He is a Viet Nam veteran and served as an airborne paramedic. He is married with a grown son living in Bothel who works for a telecommunication company. Lou lives with his wife on a small farm on Whidbey Island. Fishing and hunting are favored pasttimes.

Lou has also taught Field Schools in Archaeology on the Whibey Island in the summer, Students have explored the various sites on the Island(s) and excavated and analyzed materials from the Mitchell site at Polnell Point.

Professor LaBombard has lectured around the United States on subjects ranging from incorporation of Native American materials into the general teaching curriculum and the use of Native American story telling and oral traditions to various subjects relating to the archaeology and history of the West, Southwest and the Northwest Pacific Coast. Currently he is finishing a study of the techniques for retention of traditional cultures of select Native American groups compared with the Maori of New Zealand.

Rosie James
Always holding onto the knowledge was a task entrusted to me by my Grandfather.
- Rosie James

Rosie James is an elder and Cultural Development Coordinator for the Samish Indian Nation. She was born and raised in Anacortes and attended school s in the area. She takes her name from her paternal great grandfather, Louis Cayou. Her maternal great grandfather, John Stone, was born at Ship Harbor across from Guemes Island. Her passion is sharing Oral History which was handed down to her and her brothers during meal times. Rosie was mentored by her grandmother. She usually accompanied the tribal elders to gather shellfish, salmon, bottom fish, and plants. She was taught to gather traditional foods, where to find it, how to collect it, how to prepare it and most importantly when (what seasons) to gather it. Her great grandfather was the first Anglo settler on Orcas Island hailing from France. Since 2010 Rosie has made her home on Guemes Island, the birthplace of her grandfather. Rosie's partner, Bill Bailey, is a well-known Northwest Native American carver.

Rosie enjoys teaching concepts by telling stories and presenting Oral History. She intrigues audiences throughout the Pacific Northwest as she shares her grandmother's stories and Tribal culture. She is a frequent speaker in schools and at cultural events.

Cindy Minkler
Cindy Minkler (Lakota) graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a B.A. in Music Education and Piano Performance. Since then, she’s been an educator, graduation speaker, free lance pianist, piano teacher and performer. Back in the 90’s, Minkler was seen on the hit dramedy television show “Northern Exposure.” In 2003 she was invited to perform at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco where she featured her original composition, “Battle of Wounded Knee." Minkler performed and won an award at the 2nd annual West Coast American Indian Music Awards Show and is currently performing around the Pacific Northwest.

Photos courtesy of the Island County Historical Society