C’waam ceremony

Chiloquin, Ore. – Federal funding, teams of biologists, and extensive studies are being used to help restore numbers of endangered sucker fish in the Klamath Basin.

An effort was made Saturday to get spiritual help for the suckers, or c’waam, through an ancient ceremony.

Klamath Tribal Council member and Culture and Heritage Director Perry Chocktoot said the c’waam ceremony has roots in ancient history. “This is a ceremony that calls our fish back to where they were born.”

Over 100 people gathered for the ceremony involving 3 fish on the shores of the Sprague River.

Former Chairman Jeff Mitchell told the story of the creation of the c’waam.

After a blessing by tribal elders, two of the fish were released back into the wild.

A third fish is offered back to the Creator in a ceremonial cremation.

“It’s great to have biologists and everybody working to try to restore the fish,” said Tribal Chairman Don Gentry. “But we need to go to our Creator, do the ceremony, and perform that ceremony, and pray for the fish to return as we did for thousands of years.”

“The prayers need to be pretty loud and hard today,” Chocktoot said. “And we need a lot of people to come together and pray for these fish – pray for our people.”



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