The Squaxin Island Tribe recently launched PaddleToSquaxin2012.org, an information and news website for the final stop in the 2012 Intertribal Canoe Journey. The website will be the main conduit for public information for one of the largest tribal cultural events in the region.
The journey is an annual intertribal celebration of Pacific Northwest canoe culture and tradition. A different tribe hosts each year. The Squaxin Island Tribe has selected “Teaching of Our Ancestors” as the core theme for the 2012 journey hosting. More than 100 canoes will land at the Port of Olympia, in Washington state, on July 29th, with thousands of people joining together to welcome each arrival. Canoe Families, friends and relatives then move to a celebration & Potlatch Protocol at the Squaxin Island Community, Kamilche, WA, July 30 – August 5. Both the landing and potlatch protocol are open to the public.
For centuries, Pacific Northwest tribal people navigated the waterways in intricately carved dugout canoes. The Salish Sea, the body of water that encompasses Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia in Canada, was the central force that connected canoe cultures for intertribal communication and trade. But early federal government mandates outlawed many tribal traditions, resulting in ceremonial practices and the art of canoe building and ceremonial practices being nearly lost. In 1989, the Canoe Journey, originally called “Paddle to Seattle”, was organized as a revival of the canoe culture traditions and the Native American contribution to the Washington State Centennial. Today, tribes from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and the Seminole Tribe in Florida participate. The Squaxin Island Tribe has reached out to all marine based indigenous peoples to participate in the 2012 Journey.
2012 Canoe Journey staff is working in partnership with the Port of Olympia, cities of Olympia and Shelton as well as Thurston and Mason Counties and their communities.
A Canoe Journey Green Team Subcommittee is working to create a zero waste event. Paddle to Squaxin 2012 is a drug and alcohol free event.