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La Push, Washington

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La Push

La Push

La Push is a Native American reservation in the state of Washington. It is located near Forks, and houses the Quileute tribe. It is well known for surfing and whale-watching. It is one of the main settings for the second book of the Twilight saga, New Moon, as it is the hometown of Bella's family friend Jacob Black. Stephenie Meyer used the local tribe in the first book as a plot device to tell Bella, and the reader, that the Cullens were vampires, and in New Moon she added a genetic quirk that allows the Quileutes to turn into werewolves when vampires are in the area.

History

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Jacob and Bella in Twilight, supposedly in La Push. The movie was actually filmed in Portland, Oregon.

Tribal Quileute members built cedar canoes that ranged in size from two-man to ocean-going freight vessels capable of carrying three tons. They ranked second only to the Makah as whalers, and first among all the tribes as sealers. Special woolly-haired dogs were bred, and their hair spun into prized blankets. According to the stories, the Quileutes' only kin, the Chimacum, were separated from them by a great flood that swept them to the Quimper Peninsula on the other side of the North Olympic Peninsula, where they were wiped out by Chief Seattle and the Suquamish Tribe in the 1860s.

First official contacts with the white man occurred in 1855, when the Quileutes signed a treaty with representatives of Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens. A treaty a year later would have moved them to a reservation in Taholah, but the Quileute territory was so remote it wasn't enforced. In February 1889, an executive order by President Grover Cleveland established a one mile square reservation at La Push which, at the time, had 252 inhabitants. While villagers were picking hops in Puyallup, the town was destroyed by arson in 1889.

Modern day

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La Push Beach

Today, La Push has ocean front resorts, a seafood company, fish hatchery, and a new marina. Quileute Headquarters and a mini museum are on the old village site. The Quileute tribe has recreated its traditional skills and crafts, which are taught at school along with the unique language, which is unrelated to any root language in the world, and one of only five in the world without nasal sounds.

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View of small island right off the coast of La Push Beach

Perched above First Beach in La Push is the La Push Ocean Park and Shoreline Resort, which features motels, townhouses and cabins. Lonesome Creek, a new store, post office and RV park are open in La Push. The popular Quileute Days event takes place July 17-19 in La Push. The tribal celebration of cultural heritage and modern lifestyle includes a fireworks display, a traditional salmon bake, dancing and songs, a softball tournament, and other field sports, a slow pitch tournament, a horse show tournament, arts and craft display, and food concessions.



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