Event to bring 10,000 Coastal Indigenous people from Oregon to B.C. and beyond
Photo by Beau Garreau, Children of the Setting Sun Productions
The tribal canoe journey is not passing through the San Juan Islands this year but islanders may want to witness the July 24-28 journey. A map of the route, links to a trailer about the event, and information on how to become a sponsor is included in the following press release.
This summer Bellingham residents will have a chance to gather with thousands of people witness and strength and beauty of more than 100 coastal canoes landing, by invitation of Lummi Nation, near the Stommish grounds and Portage Island (2295 Lummi View Dr., Bellingham, WA).
The “Paddle to Lummi” tribal canoe journey or “Sqweshenet Tse Schelangen / Honoring Our Way Of Life” is slated for July 24 through 28. The traditional canoe gathering honors the unique relationship and that tribes up and down the west coast have with the land, water and each other.
Click image to view trailer on YouTube Photo by Jon Carroll of Children of the Setting Sun Productions
Each year since 1989, canoe families traveling from up and down the Washington coast, Oregon and lower British Columbia, Canada, meet and gather with guests from around the world and exchange songs, dance, food and cultural heritage.
The event is hosted by different Native Nations each year. This year, it is organized by The Lhaq’Temish Foundation, a non-profit tribal community organization.
“The Lummi people are honored to welcome all our relations traveling the traditional highways of our ancestors to participate in this year’s journey,” said Jeremiah Julius, Tribal Chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council. “Together we will celebrate, honor and share the unique cultural heritage of the Coast Salish people.”
The Canoe Journey is a revival of the traditional method of transportation and is a culturally significant experience for participants. On arrival, visiting canoe families ask permission to land, often in their Native languages. Protocol––the sharing of songs, dances and gifts––lasts for days.
Julius said they expect approximately 10,000 people and over 100 canoe families on their ancestral shores–-something he says will help build strong bridges with neighboring communities.
“Over the years we have witnessed the discipline the canoe journey has taught our younger generations,” Julius said. “Honoring our way of life in sharing who we are and where we come from.”
The event will culminate with traditional potlatch song, dance, gift-giving, singing, dancing, and testimonies of the journey that organizers say have provided their people with hope, healing and happiness preserving their way of life.
Visitors to the area as well as those in the greater Bellingham and Whatcom County community are welcome to attend and be a part of the event.
Organizers are also seeking business sponsorships in promotion of strengthening community relations and partnerships. Business sponsorship is available at various levels and includes recognition ranging from acknowledgement on the event website to the placement of business logos on event banners, agenda booklets, Lummi newspaper and acknowledgement on protocol floor.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for businesses in the greater Bellingham area to strengthen their connection and relationship with the Lummi community and the community at large,” said Candice Wilson, Executive Director of the Lhaq’Temish Foundation.
Those interested in sponsorship opportunities can call Rebecca Kinley, P2L Coordinator 360-312-2260 or firstname.lastname@example.org.