Thank you to James Rideout, Puyallup Tribal Councilmember, for speaking at our March meeting and sharing information about the Puyallup 2018 Tribal Canoe Journey. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians will host the 2018 Canoe Journey from July 28 to August 4 this year. James says that this Canoe Journey will be the first that the Puyallup Tribe hosts on their land.
Approximately 15,000 participants representing coastal tribes from all over the Pacific Northwest are expected to attend. The former Ole & Charlie’s Marina at the mouth of the Hylebos is the site of the landing. Not all participants will arrive by canoe. The tribes also have ground crews.
History of Canoe Journey
James said that traditionally, canoe families ask for permission to come to the host tribe’s shores. Neighboring tribes usually bring their chiefs and leaders to celebrate. The canoe journeys are growing. About 28 local tribes and potentially people from Alaska and Hawaii will participate this year. You can see a list of the registered tribes and canoe families here.
How Canoe Families meet
The Canoe Families will come from two routes: the Northern side and the Coastal side. “They will link together at some point,” said James. “It’s really up to the skippers and the tribes to decide where their starting point is.” James did say that the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe would have a huge gathering, too, because at that point the Canoe Families are almost at their final destination. The Puyallup Tribe was in that situation in 2016, when Canoe Families landed at Owen Beach on their way to Nisqually.
Celebrations at Chief Leschi Schools
After the Canoe Families come ashore, the tribes will get together at Chief Leschi Schools to celebrate with singing, dancing, stories and food. The Puyallup Tribe plans to transport people by bus to the schools. For eight days, every tribe will have an opportunity to perform with their own traditions. James says that this hosting can last from noon until after midnight each day!
The Puyallup Tribe has been planning to host this Canoe Journey. James says that hosting is expensive — “it is a couple million dollars” — but they have planned for it, including putting away several thousands of pounds of fish for the celebration. James says that the Canoe Journey offers may health benefits, and integrating “our children in the community is really important.”
An amazing sight!
Seeing the Canoe Families arrive in Commencement Bay will be an amazing sight! James said that watching the canoes arrive from a boat or on the water would be a spectacular view!
How to get involved
James said that the tribe is looking for volunteers to help with a variety of activities. To sign up to volunteer, please fill in the Tribe’s volunteer form.
Keep following the Puyallup Tribal Canoe Journey’s webpage for more information.
Thank you again to James for speaking with us and to everyone for attending our monthly meeting!
— Liz Satterthwaite, TWA Communications. Communications@tacomawaterfront.org