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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

25 May 2015

❖ SWINOMISH TRIBE IN WW II

Andrew Joe (1892-1960)
Unofficial chief of the Swinomish tribe, 1944.
Joe is working on a wooden barge at the Sagstad Shipyard 
on LaConner reservation land leased from the tribe. 
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
"It was a proud moment for Andrew Joe, unofficial chief of the Swinomish tribe of Indians at LaConner, Skagit County, when he saw his 12-year old daughter, Vivian, smash a bottle of champagne across the bow of a 204-ft Army barge built at the Sagstad Shipyard, and watched the barge slide with a splash into Swinomish Slough.
      'Champagne, flowers––everything,' he says, 'great doings.'
      The Indian of old, with his war whoops and war paint, is gone, but the Swinomish know their way around in wartime. The site of the little Sagstad yard is on their reservation, and was leased from them. Thirty of the 85 yard employees are Indians.
      Thirty of the tribe's young men were in the armed forces, most of them in the Army. One gave his life for his country in Italy. The shipyard workers all buy bonds, under a payroll-deduction plan.
      The Swinomish attracted some attention several years ago when their aged totem carver, Charles George, carved a totem pole for the reservation. In a place of honor near the top of the pole was the Great White Chief's President Roosevelt. George said the honor was by way of recognition of the Great White Chief's generosity in providing $16,000 in W. P. A. funds for recreational facilities.
      Andrew Joe, in addition to being a leader of the tribal community, is perhaps the only man in the world with a brother named Joe Joe. Joe Joe fishes and trucks fish...
      Andrew Joe, who is 52, said four tribes were contained and placed on the Swinomish reservation by the government.
      'It was supposed to be just a temporary reservation; that was back in the late 1870s, said Andrew. 
      The Swinomish leader is a great admirer of his father.
      'He had a great spiritual gift. I remember when I was a boy and my father's brother-in-law was shot in the ankle with a shotgun while hunting. Two white doctors worked on him a long time, and they could get only one shot out of the wound.
      Then someone went for Doctor Joe. He put his mouth to the wound and sucked out every shot––15 of them––with one suck. This feat won 'Doctor' Joe the undying respect of the white physicians', Andrew Joe said.
      The white workers in the shipyard speak well of their Indian co-workers.
      'He's a darned good man,' one of them said of Garfield Day, Indian fastener in the yard.
Robert Charles
Sagstad Shipyard planerman, age 23 yrs.
LaConner, WA. 1944

Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
      Many of the Indians have worked at Sagstad yard since it began operations late in 1941. One of those is Robert Charles, above."
Writer unknown. Published in The Seattle Times, September 1944.
From the archives of the S.P.H.S. 

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