Chinook Nation on Canoe Journey.
This important inter-tribal Canoe Journey is an essential part of contemporary NW tribal culture that draws from our earliest traditions. The annual event brings tribes from throughout the NW together for a week of sharing protocol, food, singing dancing and teachings.
As the name suggests, the Journey to the potlatch is a significant undertaking and often takes weeks to accomplish. This happens in traditional canoes on the water highways of our ancestors.
The first modern Canoe Journey was organized as a way for tribes to celebrate Washington State’s bicentennial. Conceived by Emmett Oliver, a man of Chinook ancestry who was born and raised in our traditional territory, a handful of NW tribes participated in this “Paddle to Seattle.” Among the participants was Frank Brown of Bella Bella, British Columbia. While in Seattle he extended an invitation for the canoes to come to his village and a new tradition was born.
The Canoe Journey has been embraced by the Chinook Indian Nation’s Canoe Family. It is a drug and alcohol free event that offers participants a physically and spiritually challenging journey towards “healing and recovery of culture, traditional knowledge and spirituality.”
Members of the Chinook Indian Nation Canoe Family load up for a short trip from their camping area to a dinner and a long night of protocol on the 201l Paddle to Swinomish at La Conner, Washington