The Quileute Nation on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula has found itself in the spotlight with the runaway success of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twlight” series and the subsequent release of movies based on the series. “New Moon,” the second film, came out earlier this month. “New Moon’s” Wolfpack features members of the Quileute Nation, and Native actors play their roles. (In Summit Entertainment photo above, from left, Alex Meraz as Paul, Chaske Spencer as Sam Uley, Bronson Pelletier as Jared and Kiowa Gordon as Embry Call.)
The tribe is taking the attention as what you might call a teachable moment, according to this story by Paige Dickerson of the Peninsula Daily News.
“The Twilight phenomenon gives the Quileutes the opportunity to educate those about who we are by way of sharing our own stories, food, song and dance passed down from generation to generation,” says said tribal councilwoman Anna Rose Counsell.Chris Morganroth III, who is Quileute, tells young people the tribe’s legends, which include Spirit beings whoa re able to transform themselves in to people or animals.
“Twlight” focuses on teenage Bella who is in love with a vampire. In “New Moon,” her best friend, Jacob Black a Quileute teen, and his Quileute friends turn into werewolves when angered. That’s definitely not part of Quileute lore.
But, he tells Dickerson, “if Ms. Meyer wanted to make up a story about werewolves, that is her thing — it helped make the characters more interesting.”
Visitors to the Quileute Nation – there have been 70,000 so far this year, the tribe estimates – can hear traditional storytelling on special fan weekends. The tribe also hosts weekly healing drum circles on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Center where fans can learn more about its culture, Dickerson reports.
Meanwhile, she writes here, the tribe isn’t about to translate a Quileute phrase that Jacob Black whispers when he kisses Bella in “New Moon.”
“Please know we would love to translate the phrase for you, but out of respect for Jacob and his feelings for Bella, we are going to keep that private for now,” says tribal publicist Jackie Jacobs.