Up to 130 Tribal Canoe Families are expected to land at the Port of Olympia’s NorthPoint area this Saturday, July 30, for the annual ‘Paddle to Nisqually,’ and it appears that several participants paddled past Burien’s shores Thursday morning, July 28.
Given tide predictions, landing ceremonies will begin about 1 p.m. on Saturday. The week-long, post Landing Protocols and Potlatch will be at the Nisqually Reservation.
Resident Elston Hill took these photos as paddlers in dugout canoes passed Burien’s Three Tree Point area Thursday (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):
Here’s a video about this event:

From their website:

Q: When did the Canoe Journeys celebration start?
A: Tribes and First Nations have traveled by canoe and gathered for celebrations for thousands of years. The canoe tradition faded with the use of motorboats in the late 1800’s. Through the 1970’s and mid-1980’s, the canoe culture began a revival with Tribes traveling from one nation to another. The first official Canoe Journey annual celebration as it is known today began in 1989 with the Paddle to Seattle as part of Washington State’s Centennial celebration.
Q: What are the canoes made from and how are they made?
A: Dugout canoes are formed from hollowed out logs. The type of wood used depends on the trees available in the region. The canoe design features high sides and ends to help keep the vessel from taking on water in rough seas. Canoe styles vary from tribe to tribe and each canoe takes skill to produce.
Q: How many Canoe Families participate and where do they come from?
A: Canoe Families from the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska and Canada, participate in the annual events. Canoe Journeys are one of the largest traditional gatherings of indigenous people anywhere in the world with Native peoples traveling from Hawaii, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and South America. As many as 84 canoes from 50 tribes and Canadian First Nation groups have participated in recent journeys. Host tribes have fed and accommodated over 10,000 people in the final week of welcoming ceremonies, which includes traditional drumming, dancing, and songs. Many tribes organize their summer activities around Canoe Journeys.
Q: Who is invited to participate in the Canoe Journey?
A: Many events are open to the public and the spirit of Canoe Journey is for all native peoples to share in its transforming experiences. Tribal Nations are responsible for their canoes and whom they invite in. We also have to keep in mind, all the food, resources and planning that is involved with effectively and equally servicing and caring for all Canoe Families and guests.


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