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2012 Canoe Journey is coming to Olympia July 29th, 2012
Paddle to Squaxin 2012 Canoe Journey
Squaxin Island Tribe is proud to be the host of Canoe Journey 2012.
On July 29, 2012, The Squaxin Island Tribe will host the 24th annual Canoe Journey, an intertribal
celebration of Pacific Northwest canoe culture and tradition. More than 100 canoes will land at the Port of
Olympia, in Washington state, with thousands of people joining to welcome each arrival.
Cedar canoes are the traditional mode of transportation for coastal people of the Pacific Northwest.The resurgence of canoe journeys began in 1989 during the Suquamish Tribe’s “Paddle to Seattle.” Then, in 1993, the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella, BC challenged all canoe nations to travel by canoe to their village participate in the Qutawas Festival. 28 canoes answered that challenge. Today more than a 100 canoes from as many as 90 US Tribes, Canadian First Nations and New Zealand and an estimated 12,000 people participate in the annual Tribal Canoe Journeys. We pull together; we sing and dance; and we share our culture – everthing in honor of our past, present and future generations.
The Squaxin Island Tribe has chosen “Teachings of Our Ancestors” as the theme of the 24th annual Canoe Journey in summer 2012.
Ancestral teachings “are the center of our lives and cultures,” Squaxin Island Museum executive director Charlene Krise said. “It is our ancestors that teach us that we must care for our elders, each other, our children and the earth because each is a part of our past, present and future.”
The Squaxin Island Tribe will welcome more than 100 canoes to its shores on July 29, followed by a week of potlatch ceremonies and festivities, with daily performances by dancers, singers and storytellers from visiting indigenous nations. The ceremonies and festivities are open to the public.
The Tribe is working with the City of Olympia and the Port of Olympia on a parking and transportation plan to accommodate participants and visitors. Elders began making cedar bracelets for gifting in November, and the Tribe has issued a call for entrepreneurs to help meet the needs of as many as 10,000 expected visitors.
The Canoe Journey is held each summer to celebrate the revival of traditional travel on the ancestral highways of the coastal Pacific Northwest. Every year, pullers in more than 100 canoes travel from their territories to a host nation, with stops at indigenous territories along the way, for cultural celebration and sharing. Indigenous languages are spoken on the journey, particularly at the canoe landings when skippers ask hosts for permission for pullers to come ashore, and at evening ceremonies when dances and songs are shared.
The Heiltsuk First Nation will pull the farthest — more than 1,000 miles over 23 days from Bella Bella, B.C., Canada. Indigenous peoples from Alaska, Brazil, Canada, Hawaii, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Oregon also participate.