call the Island Lummi? Originally the island was
called "Sa nam a o" (High Mountain). This name came
from the native inhabitants, now referred to as the Lummi People.
Another name used by these people was "Skallaham" who's
meaning has been lost with history.
It was the Spanish explorers Dionisio Galiano
and Cayetano Valdez who called the island "Isla de Pachecco".
U.S. Naval Lieutenant Charles Wilkes renamed the island McLoughlin's
Island. It was finally in 1853 that Lummi Island got its current
name in honor of the islands original inhabitants.
Questions are still open on what the word Lummi
actually means. In Chinook there is a word meaning old woman
- "Lamieh". Another theory is that it is a contraction of "Tlawalames"
- once the name of a village on Lopez Island. In addition there
is "Wh'lah luh muhs" - a Salish word for facing each other.
As diverse as its name. Lummi Island
ranges from 300 feet above sea level in the north to 1,700 feet
above sea level in the south. At Otto Preserve, Lovers Bluff
and Point Migley you can see exposed rock formations are fine
examples of the different ways that the island was formed millions
of years ago. In contrast the northern half of the island is
dominated by sandstone. All resulting in the variety of scenery
available to a visitor to Lummi Island.
Lummi life, then & now. Still enjoyed
today are the sockeye salmon that were the mainstay of the original
Lummi Island inhabitants. Even their method of fishing called
"reef-net fishing" is practiced off Lummi Island in Legoe Bay.
A unique ritual called "the first salmon ceremony" was practiced
by the Lummi People. This ceremony, honoring the life of the
salmon, was a community affair which involved the preparation
and eating of the first salmon catch after which the fish bones
were returned tot he water.
Changes in the Lummi population. The
Lummi People's population declined over the years due to the
introduction of small pox brought unwittingly by European explorers.
A further decline in population was a result of more aggressive
intruders with firearms. Additional changes came to the Lummis
when missionaries converted them to Christianity. Soon land treaties
were signed which moved the people into new professions in logging,
mill work and dock work and later employment in the canneries.
Homesteading brought further changes to the area natives and
indian agents taught the Lummis to be farmers. Eventually the
reef-net locations were abandoned due to European fishing methods
intercepting the salmon.
The Lummi People have however, managed to preserve
their native culture in keeping many of their customs and ceremonies
Early settlers. 1846 marked the official
agreement between the US and Great Britain which made the San
Juan Islands part of the United States. Major homesteading offers
to adult male US Citizens increased the population of the area
after the gold rush years.
Lummi Island's first settler (1871) was Christian
Tuttle. He settled here after a life on the sea. Tuttle Lane,
named in his honor, marks the area of his homestead. Subsequent
settlers lent their names to many of Lummi Islands locations
and landmarks. Some of the descendents of the original settlers
still live on the island today.
Make your family's reservation TODAY, call:
Island Vacation Rentals
owned & operated by Seaside Lodging Northwest
Telephone: (360) 758-7064
or toll free (888) 758-7064
1695 Seacrest Drive, Lummi Island, WA 98262
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