Opinion: Paddle to Squaxin continues a journey of healing, hope

"Ray Krise raised his hands in thanks as the eagle circled overhead, as if greeting the canoes coming around the bend from Budd Inlet into East Bay July 29.

On a path overlooking the bay, Squaxin women and girls dressed in woven cedar and wool clothing raised their hands in welcome as men drummed and sang on the bluff above. Crowds cheered.

The beauty of what was taking place on the water — the arrival of canoes in the 2012 Canoe Journey/Paddle to Squaxin — was sharply contrasted by the reality of what was in the water.

East Bay is sick. It’s the former site of a wood mill and although the beach has been capped with a layer of mud, signs advise visitors to shower after contact with sand or water from the area. The Squaxin people have a treaty right to harvest fish and shellfish here. “It’s damaged so much we can’t grow anything here anymore,” Squaxin elder John Krise said. “Until this pollution dissipates, and that might take a thousand years.”

And so the canoes lined up, each carrying waters from their home territories. The canoe pullers, the crowds, the leaders joined in prayer for the bay’s healing, and then 98 canoe skippers poured their waters into the bay."

Get the Story:
Richard Walker: The journey of healing and hope continues (The North Kitsap Herald 8/3)

Also Today:
Puyallup tribe welcomes canoes from near and far during a stop on the reservation (The Tacoma Weekly 8/2)

Related Stories:
Column: Ambitious recycling goals at the Paddle to Squaxin 2012 (8/2)
Squaxin Island Tribe hosts over 100 Canoe Journey participants (8/1)
Editorial: Anticipation building for annual tribal Canoe Journey (7/27)
OPB: Cowlitz Tribe keeping tradition alive with Canoe Journey (7/19)
Editorial: Experience tribal traditions with annual Canoe Journey (7/13)
Editorial: Tribes keep traditions alive with annual Canoe Journey (6/25)
Tribes in Pacific Northwest get ready for annual Canoe Journey (6/11)

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