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Tribal Canoe Journey is a spectacular cultural celebration in which 100s of ocean-going canoes travel from their home waters to a host Nation, stopping to visit different communities along the way. Every year a different tribe hosts, and this year the Lummi Nation - which is located few minutes north of Bellingham - is the host!
The Eighth Generation team put together this list of basic fun facts that we think everyone in the Seattle area should know. We included a few links for those who want to learn more or see the event in person.
1. Canoe Journey began in 1989
Canoe Journey was first started in 1989 by Emmett Oliver (Quinault) with the “Paddle to Seattle” as part of the centennial celebration of Washington State. This year marks 30 years of the revival of this traditional method of transportation and the significant cultural experience for all who participate.
Travel dates & routes for Paddle to Lummi 2019, which may change due to weather and other conditions
2. "Paddles Up" is a request to land
As canoes arrive on the beach, "paddles up" signals their request for permission to come ashore. When the canoes come ashore, they'll be greeted by a tribal leader. This year, Bill James—Tsi’li’xw, hereditary chief of Lummi Nation—will greet every canoe.
Canoe families with their "paddles up." Photo from Tribal Canoe Journeys Facebook
3. Canoe Journey strengthens connections
As stated on the Paddle to Lummi 2019 website, Tribal Canoe Journey "holds special significance to Coast Salish Tribes as it truly honors and nourishes the unique relationships and connections with the land, water, and one another. "
Photo from Stephanie Masterman (Tlingit)
4. It's the best place to learn about Native people from Native people
Stephanie Masterman (Tlingit), Store Manager of Eighth Generation, says "it is a great place to participate in cultural exchange; it is an even better place for people who want to learn about Native people from Native people, rather than from textbooks or museums collections, and it is the best place for our friends and allies to come celebrate our cultures with us."
Watch as Chairman Jay Julius from the Lummi Nation extends an invitation in this video
More information on the Paddle to Lummi 2019, including guest and visitor resources, access to livestreams, and maps, can be found here!
Holly Page Bryant
Jul 22, 2019
I really want to thank everyone from the First Nations who so generously share with us their Culture and Traditions! It is my hope that holding gatherings like you do along the route of this paddle will enlighten more and more people to your Nations’ past and to your current challenges. It really is a something to see you all together!
Blessings on this year’s journey!
Jul 20, 2019
I wish one day a similar endeaver would occur out our way. I’m from a canoe people whom hundreds of years ago gradually migrating by birch bark canoes from the Gulf of St. Laurence into Great Lakes of the interior of Turtle Island. It was recently in my grandparents time back in the 1940’s our ppl still got around by canoe before the highways were made. Most of our communities in NW Ontario are along the Lake of the Woods or nearby adjacent lakes or rivers in which we are connected by language and clans. Yes we have all became user of the automobile and hence are a part of contributing to the pollution of the air. But if a tradition would re-emerge like the Pacific NW people it would certainly reconnect with us as a people certainly.
Jul 20, 2019
So beautiful that it gives me chills.
Jul 20, 2019
I am very proud of my father for his vision in 1989 and the Paddle to Seattle and how many people then took this opportunity and created the Canoe Journey, now Tribal Journey. It’s a proud day to see and come to shore. Once a few canoes and now over 100 canoes. Warms my Heart!