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Kalama Heritage Festival


The first Kalama Heritage Festival was held August 19, 20, and 21st. 2005 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of John Kalama's arrival. Kalama Heritage Festival honors John Kalama and the descendants of John Kalama.

Kalama Days of Discover has now become an annual event drawing crowds form far and wide, including Hawaii.

John Kalama, born in 1814 in Hawaii, left his home when he was 16 years old to get a job on one of the fur-trading ships that made its way to the Pacific Northwest in the early 1830s. He didn't like life at sea and made friends with the Nisqually Indians where he sang his native songs and joined them in their festivities.

He eventually married Mary Martin, a daughter of Chief Martin of the Nisqually Indian Tribe. Although Kalama built a cabin in Tumwater for his bride, they joined the Nisquallys when the tribe made its annual trip to the Cowlitz areas for smelt and berries. He eventually lived at the mouth of the Kalama River where he hunted, fished and trapped for many years.

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