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Canoes arrive at Suquamish July 19, Point Julia July 20 | 2013 Canoe Journey
SUQUAMISH — The Canoe Journey — an annual gathering of Northwest Native canoe cultures — stops in Suquamish July 19 and Port Gamble S’Klallam July 20.
This year’s visits will be more intimate than previous years. Most North Sound and Canadian First Nation canoes are traveling north of Admiralty Inlet en route to the final destination of the Quinault Nation on Washington’s Pacific Coast. North Sound canoe families expected to visit Suquamish include Nooksack, Samish and Swinomish; from South Sound, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin, and the family of Canoe Journey founder Emmett Oliver.
Port Gamble S’Klallam will host those canoe families, as well as those from Skokomish. All will proceed from Point Julia, joining other canoes at stops along the northern Olympic Peninsula en route to Taholah on the Pacific Coast. More than 100 canoes are expected to visit Quinault Aug. 1-6.
Canoes will be escorted from Neah Bay to Taholah by the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain, commemorating the 225th anniversary of first contact between ships of the United States and the Quinault Nation.
There are several opportunities to watch canoes arrive.
South Sound canoes will be welcomed by Suquamish Tribe leaders, elders and royalty July 18, 2 p.m., at Manchester State Park in Port Orchard. Canoe families will travel to Suquamish in vehicles for dinner and a skippers meeting.
On July 19, the public can watch canoes land at the Charles Lawrence Memorial Boat Ramp in Suquamish Village beginning at 2 p.m. A salmon dinner and clam bake will follow at 6 p.m. Protocol — an evening of traditional songs, dances and gifting — begins at 7 p.m. in the House of Awakened Culture.
“We encourage people to come and watch the canoes and watch the protocols,” Suquamish Cultural Activities Director Tina Jackson said. Although dinner is primarily for the canoe families, “we don’t turn anyone away,” she said.
Canoes depart Suquamish July 20 at 5:30 a.m and arrive at Point Julia between noon and 3 p.m. that day. Visiting canoes will be greeted by S’Klallam canoes on the water and welcomed on the beach by dignitaries — and a clam bake, for which Port Gamble S’Klallam is famous. Dinner and an evening of cultural sharing will follow in Little Boston. Canoes depart Point Julia July 21.
Each Canoe Journey is a test of mental, physical and spiritual readiness; some canoes will travel as far as 400 nautical miles from their home territories to Quinault. Pullers are hosted by indigenous nations along the way, with each stop filled with the sharing of traditional foods, languages, songs, dances and other teachings. Songs often come to the pullers out on their ancestral waters.
S’Klallam canoe skipper Laura Price uses the Journey to teach the S’Klallam language. Pullers sing S’Klallam songs and keep pace using chants in the S’Klallam language.
“We look at our language as living,” Price said. “When you incorporate the language on the water, it’s like old friends — the canoe and the language — coming together.”
To volunteer at the events in Little Boston, contact Jonelle Grady, (360) 297-6276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canoe Journey landings after Little Boston
July 21: Port Townsend
July 22: Jamestown (Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe)
July 23: Elwha (Elwha Klallam Tribe)
July 24: Elwha (Elwha Klallam Tribe)
July 25: Pillar Point
July 26: Neah Bay (Makah Nation)
July 27: Ozette (Makah Nation)
July 28: La Push (Quileute Nation)
July 29: La Push (Quileute Nation)
July 30: Hoh River (Hoh Tribe)
July 31: Queets (Quinault Nation)
Aug. 1-7: Taholah (Quinault Nation)
Note: The theme of this year’s Canoe Journey is “Honoring Our Warriors." For more information, go to www.paddletoquinault.org.