Family Canoe
Samish Family Canoe will be on display at the
Youth Activities lot at Coveland and Alexander Streets

Peter Ali

Swil Kanim

Tsimshian Haayuuk Dancers

Lou LaBombard

Rosie James

J.P. Falcon Grady

Rona Yellow Robe


Penn Cove Water Festival - 2018

See Schedule Below

The 2018 Penn Cove Water Festival continues our renewed focus on bringing back to life the spirit of the original Coupeville Water Festival (see Festival History page) by educating us on our Native community with tribal Canoe Races, Native arts and crafts, artist demonstrations, storytelling, music and dance performances, authentic Native foods, youth activities, and exhibits and displays.

The Penn Cove Water Festival Association is a small nonprofit organization consisting of community members from the Town of Coupeville, Port of Coupeville, Island County, Orca Network, Sound Water Stewards (formerly Beachwatchers), Native Tribal representatives and Skagit Valley College.


This year’s Festival is dedicated to the Memory of Jackie Feusier. Since 2012, she had been our Board Member and Graphic Artist who so beautifully worked with the designs bequeathed to us by artist Roger Perdue to create the art work we’ve used for the T-Shirts, Posters, Fine Art Prints and Advertising. Service with enthusiasm was Jackie's watchword. She was on the Board of Trustees for the Coupeville Boys and Girls Club and was recently working on the building fund. She was on the Board of Directors of the Island County Historical Museum. On top of all that, she was a Coupeville Lion, and worked tirelessly to organize charity auctions for all those organizations. She made Coupeville her home town and worked untiringly to make it a little better place. She will be greatly missed!



Traditional Northwest Coast Creation Story - White Raven

In the beginning, people did not have a sun, and had to live by starlight. This made things very difficult for everyone, including raven, who was tired of the fly by night business...

A powerful and wealthy aristocrat, who was also a chief, owned the sun and the moon. He was very greedy. He kept the sun and moon in boxes in his house, like they were prized possessions to be hidden away.

After a nasty crash into another tree in the dark, raven was very angry. Who does this chief think he is that he can own the sun and the moon, and keep the rest of us in the dark, he cawed with righteous indignation. Raven paid a visit to the chief with the sun and the moon. After observing the scene from a perch high in a tree, he noticed that the chief had a daughter and that the boxes with the moon and sun were kept in the house. He thought up a strategy and set his tricks in motion...

When the chief's daughter went to get water from the stream, raven turned himself into a very small cedar branch and floated into her basket of water. When she drank from it, he impregnated her with himself. The new baby raven was immaculate in every way. He was born a healthy baby boy, who looked like a miniature of his new grandfather, who couldn't have been more pleased.

Like just about all Tlingit grandparents, the chief was obliging and kind to his new grandchild, and spoiled baby raven. For the first time in his life, someone else was more important than himself...

Nothing was denied his grandson, and raven delighted in spilling food on his grandfather, pulling his mustache hair out and screaming at him when he wasn't fast enough serving him. Baby raven also got a special pleasure from rubbing mud on his grandfathers' finest robes while sitting on his lap. Raven laughed openly at his grandfather, who was grumbling to himself while cleaning up the mess.

The only thing the chief denied his grandson was to play with the box of daylight. By this time, raven was very, very good at throwing fierce tantrums that made his grandfather shake. The chief was weary of the scenes and finally one day acquiesced to baby raven. Raven snatched the sun from the box and darted out of the smoke hole in the ceiling with it. The chief could not find the sun anywhere...

Raven was white before he stole the sun... his trip through the smoke hole with the sun transformed him into the black creature, as he is today. He paid a price for his audacity. Every time I see raven I think of the price he paid, and how it does not seem to bother him much, since he is still behaving with a kind of goofy abandon that only a trickster at heart possesses. Maybe the price we pay has more to do with how we respond to a situation in life than the price itself.

As he soared home in the first light of the new day, the only thing he could think of was, "I'm going to miss teasing the old fart... was that a moon I saw in the other box?" -- Larry McNeil

2018 Performances


Friday, May 11, 7:30 PM
Storytelling around the bonfire at Pacific Rim Institute with Lou LaBombard, Anthropologist and Lecturer



-PCWF President Vicky Reyes, Mayor Molly Hughes, Samish Cultural Development Coordinator Rosie James with Kelly Hall, Samish Language Specialist, and our PCWF Native American Advisor, Lou Labombard

11:15-12:00 PM – Peter Ali, Flute……………………………Main Stage
12:15-1:00 – JP Falcon Grady,Music & Songs………Main Stage
1:15-2:00 – Rona Yellowrobe, Stories & Music……Main Stage
2:15-3:00 – Swil Kanim, Violin…………………………… Main Stage
3:15-3:45 – Lou LaBombard, Storytelling……….… Main Stage
4:00–5:00 Tshimshian Haayuuk Dancers………… Main Stage
Traditional and ceremonial dances involving you, the audience!

In-between performances, we'll hear updates of the Canoe Races that can be viewed from the Wharf, along Front Street, at the Boat Launch in Capt. Coupe Park

SATURDAY, MAY 12th - At the BOAT LAUNCH on 9th Street:

12:00 Noon - FESTIVAL WELCOME - PCWF President Vicky Reyes, Mayor Molly Hughes & Rosie James
12:10 – Dedication of the PCWF sponsored AED unit in Memory of Jackie Feusier
12:20 – Race Captains Meeting
12:30-5:00 - Canoe Races take place during the rest of the afternoon (see Canoe Races page)

Jim Hillaire and Jim Freeman
veteran Penn Cove Water Festival announcers

In-between performances, we'll hear updates of the Canoe Races that can be viewed from the Wharf, along Front Street and/or at the Boat Launch in Capt. Coupe Park.

There are also Food Booths at the Boat Launch


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 a notable actor. He starred as "Mouse" in Sherman Alexies highly acclaimed movie The Business of FancyDancing, appeared in 24 episodes of CBS's Northern Exposure and 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.

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.

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.

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 since 2000, Peter has performed all over the Puget Sound and played, with others, for the Dalai Lama during the 2014 Seeds of Compassion Tour in Seattle.

Peter is descended from his Mother who is of Mayan and Lower Pima heritage from 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.

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 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.

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.

Rona Yellow Robe
Native American Music Awards' 2014 and 2015 Native American Flutist of the Year, was born and raised in Havre, Montana, and is an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, Montana. She is known for her powerful vocal ability, Native American flute style, and heart-filled presence. She picked up her first flute in 2002 and has been on a musical and spiritual journey ever since. It is by playing the Native American flute, which she refers to as “her other voice,” that she has become comfortable sharing with all audiences many aspects of her life that are personal and meaningful to her.

Rona Yellow Robe and Bruce Witham have been creating music together since May, 2008. They have recorded four albums, “Voice of the Trees” (2009), “The Gathering” (2012),a Christmas album entitled “Lighting Our Way” (2013), and most recently "Shoot For The Moon" (2016). In 2010, Rona and Bruce received Native American Music Awards nomination as Best Songwriters of the Year for their song, “Voice of the Trees," and also received Album of the Year nomination for their album, "The Gathering." They have performed concerts on stages nationwide, and now perform internationally. They have always said, "We will perform for 5 or 500." They have done both. It's all about blessing people's lives with the music.

Photos courtesy of the Island County Historical Society