The year was 1989 when tribes from Alaska, British Columbia and Washington celebrated the “Paddle to Seattle” during the centennial birthday of Washington State. Established by Emmett Oliver, this revitalization of tribal identity gained widespread popularity beginning with 15 tribes that participated in 1989. In 2009, as many as 6000 participants attended with 84 canoes representing their respective tribe.
While many things have changed, the principals shared by Coastal and Interior Natives have remained. This includes taking advantage of available resources at their disposal such as transportation. As our world is no longer constrained by the great distances that once separated us, participants as far as, Hawaii, New Zealand, Greenland, Japan and Russia were in attendance, redefining the idea of inter-tribal relationships beyond the Great Northwest. Support and supply vessels are also used to ensure the health and safety of all participants along each route during the entire canoe journey.
“Drug and Alcohol Free” is the ever-present theme and it’s important to understand where we want the focus of our young people today – their attention is turned to traditional teachings, learning to listen and respecting their elders. Tribal Journeys can also nurture and enhance our quality of life.
Paddle to Quinault
Originally published in our Chehalis Tribal Newsletter,
August 2013 which can be downloaded below.