What is Tribal Journeys?
The Canoe Journey is a revival of the traditional method of transportation and is a significant cultural experience for all participants. The Canoe Journey began in 1989, when the "Paddle to Seattle" took place as part of the 100th anniversary of Washington Statehood. That year, the state and indigenous governments signed the Centennial Accord, recognizing indigenous sovereignty. Fifteen Nations participated in the Paddle to Seattle.
Each year, a different Nation hosts canoe pullers, support crews and other visitors from Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington. Depending on distance, the trip can take up to a month. On arrival, visiting canoe families ask permission to land, often in Indigenous languages. Protocol -- the sharing of songs, dances and gifts -- lasts for days. The Canoe Journey is family-friendly, and drug- and alcohol-free. [adapted from Wikipedia]
Why is it Important?
For more than twenty-years, Tribal Journeys has provided the framework for cultural revitalization and experience aimed at supporting youth through the process. For some, their travels will include more than five weeks of daily paddling to reach their destination – with each stop bringing the opportunity to share and learn from one another and practice the important cultural protocols of our communities. It is a journey of healing and health both individually and collectively and for many, represents a connection to each other, to the land, and to their cultural heritage for which there is simply no other comparison. [adapted from https://www.museumatcapemudge.com/tribal-journeys]
Canoes and Knowledge
Every canoe on this journey has a family. Every family has a paddle song. Each paddle song, just like each canoe, has a name and a maker. These important details of origin, lineage, history and journey come to life in stories that crisscross the Salish Sea, extending to the north and south, to the inland and out into the Pacific Ocean, like the warp and weft of the traditional cedar bark hats the pullers wear out on the water.
One story that came to life on the beach after a hard day's pull was that of the Nokedjak, a canoe gifted by Guy Capoeman, a Quinault carver, to the Squaxin Island canoe family in 2012 when Squaxin hosted the journey. "Nokedjak was the village name of my ancestors who were also carvers of ocean-sailing canoes," said Capoeman, who estimated that he has built 28 such canoes. "Fifty years from now, when I'm dead and gone, someone will tell that story of Nokedjak and say, 'Yeah, this is where this comes from and this is what it means.'" [adapted from http://bit.ly/2uvgbIT]