Photos: Paddle to Squaxin 2012 Landing—Canoes Arrive in the Port of Olympia

Photos: Paddle to Squaxin 2012 Landing—Canoes Arrive in the Port of Olympia


The 24th annual Canoe Journey, a vibrant cultural event, has strengthened the ties of Pacific Northwest coastal tribes since its creation in 1989, when nine canoes participated in the Suquamish Tribe’s “Paddle to Seattle.” Now, more than 100 canoe families—from Port Gamble S’Klallam, Swinomish, Makah, Suquamish, Cowichan, Lummi, Muckleshoot, Elwha, Chemanius B.C., Tulalip, Quinault, Squamish B.C., Songees B.C., Ahousaht B.C., Puyallup and LaPush—make the annual voyage to celebrate the revival of traditional travel on the ancestral highways of the coastal Pacific Northwest. Cedar canoes are the traditional mode of transportation for Pacific Northwest Tribes on inland waterways.

Each summer, a different tribe hosts the canoe landing. This year, hundreds of canoes will descend upon the Port of Olympia where Squaxin Island Tribal dancers and drummers will welcome the teams, many of whom have traveled weeks. On Squaxin Island, Pacific Northwest tribes will participate in a week of potlatch ceremonies celebrating the resurgence of coastal Salish traditions.

The Squaxin Island Tribe named this year's Canoe Journey: “Teachings of Our Ancestors.”

“It is our ancestors that teach us that we must care for our elders, each other, our children and the Earth, because each is a part of our past, present and future,” said Charlene Krise, Squaxin Island Museum executive director.

Dozens of canoes landed at Squaxin Island on July 29. The Celebration Potlatch takes place July 30 to August 5  in nearby Kamilche. For more information, visit

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