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Quileutes celebrating tsunami land acquisition with potlatch

The Quileute Tribe is holding a potlatch celebration on Thursday beginning at 2:00 p.m. at the A-Ka-Lat Center in LaPush.

The event celebrates the acquisition of federal lands located on the tribe’s highland section to be used to move residents and tribal offices from the coastal tsunami zone.

The Quileute Tribe Tsunami Protection Act was championed by Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair. Congress passed the legislation last year and President Barack Obama signed off on the legislation in Feburary.

About 40 residents are to move their homes. The Quileute Tribal School is also planned to be relocated. However, while the bill provides the land, the Quileute Tribe must now raise funds for infrastructure and construction costs of the move. Planning for the move have projected a 2017 completion.

Being feted at the event will be tribal officials, elders, dignitaries and friends of the Quileutes who contributed to the passing of the tsunami safety lands.

A salmon bake, drumming and other activities will be part of the festivities.

The new legislation provides 785 acres of Olympic Park lands. Some 275 acres will be used for relocating the tribal headquarters, now located adjacent to the Quileute Marina on the coast. The Quileute elders’ center will also be relocated. 

The Quileute Tribe has agreed to allow continued public access to trails that connect parking lots along La Push Road to Olympic National Park trails that lead to Second Beach and Third Beach, which are located on the Pacific Coast south of La Push.

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