Jeromy Sullivan: Canoe Journey a celebration of tribal culture

"This July, more than 100 canoes from Indian nations across the region will embark on the yearly tribal Canoe Journey. Canoeing has been a part of the Native way of life for thousands of years. Not only are canoes a distinctive cultural symbol, but they are a practical and essential means of transportation, especially for coastal tribes.

For the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, they have even served as something akin to mass transit. When our people were relocated to Point Julia, those who worked at the Port Gamble sawmill used canoes to cross the bay.

The first Tribal Journeys event — the Paddle to Seattle — took place in 1989 and coincided with the bicentennial celebration for Washington State. Nine canoes participated, including one from the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

In 1993, Tribal Journeys inaugurated an annual celebration with 23 canoes making the trek to Bella Bella, B.C. Since then, the event has grown in anticipation and participation. Canoe families from all over the Pacific Northwest train through the year to build the strength and endurance they’ll need for the journey."

Get the Story:
Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe Chairman Jeromy Sullivan: 'To celebrate what it means to be who we are' (Pacific Northwest Local News 7/12)

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