Photos by: Marilyn Angel Wynn/Nativestock.com
The Makah Tribe of Neah Bay Washington hosted this year’s
Tribal Journeys 2010: Journey to the Beginning of the World. The shores of Neah
Bay are located on the farthest Northwest tip of the US and the Olympic
This years journey included 86 traditional canoes from various First
Nations villages spread along the west coast. Paddlers of all ages began their
2-3 week journey from British Columbia coastline, Vancouver Island, Washington
Inlets and San Juan Islands. Some participants came as far as New Zealand and
Hawaii, of course they didn’t paddle from their homelands but joined up with
other canoe families.
I arrived to the final landing beach after a couple of hours
driving my home on wheels, a truck with self contained camper, on a winding
hairpin turns road. Neah BTribal Journeys 2010ay was bombarded with tents, youth and vendors of all
The next day the 86 ocean voyaging canoes and their families (NDN word for team, group) each ceremonially asked
permission to land on the beach and homelands of the Makah. There was great
celebration, dancing, singing, drumming finishing with a welcoming salmon feast
for thousands of paddlers, their families and spectators.
Benefiting most from the annual canoe journey experiences are the
youth. These First Nations teenagers give great hope to future generations and proudly carry
on their ancestral traditions. It's by far one of the best mentoring events I've ever witnessed. All participate in a great protocol fan fare
that goes week long everyday from morning until midnight. Each tribe who
sponsored a canoe are represented through the sharing of their songs, regalia
and dancing. The celebration is highly honored and intense.
All tribal members and non-Indians are welcome to attend the 2011 canoe landing and celebration which will be hosted by the Tsimshian of Prince Rupert, BC. That will also include a totem pole raising. Additional future journeys will be Paddle to Squaxin Island 2012, Quinault 2013 and Bella Bella 2014. This is a well organized First Nations event that’s not to be missed and needs to be experienced at least once in your lifetime