2009 Journey, Over

Tribal Canoe Journey 2009, Paddle to Suquamish is Over 

Tribal Journey 2009, which began for many in early July on the shores of their home villages (in locations of Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, and British Columbia, Canada) has now completed the final landings and final protocol at Suquamish Tribe, located in Kitsap County on the Port Madison Indian Reservation, Washington State, USA. 

Little did anyone realize in 1989, as the nine canoes departed the shores of Suquamish to Paddle to Seattle that they were pivotal to the rebirth of a series of historic annual canoe journey events.

Nothing foretold that, through the years, interest would grow, and more than 90 canoes would gather 20 years later from 30-plus tribes and nations to commemorate that first historic journey from Suquamish to Seattle. 

Since the 1989 journey, countless lives were challenged to take up the mantra of the Tribal Canoe Journey, to be clean and sober, and to honor the traditions of the ancestors in living responsibly, sensibly and with honor.

“We can see the ancestors smiling down on us as we paddle the same waters they traveled on their canoes so long ago” a young person we say of their canoe journey experience.

From that first Paddle to Seattle, Tribal Canoe Journeys of the Pacific Northwest has become an epic adventure, each summer, involving dozens of canoes from dozens of tribes, nations and indigenous people groups… At times, also including participants from New Zealand and Hawaii.

It is very moving to see people who were small children traveling with their parents along with the canoe journeys years ago, now all grown and sharing it with their children. 

What once was a small event, fairly unnoticed by the outside world, has caught the attention of film makers and journalists worldwide.

Because of the focus on healing, and sobriety, and family involvement the Tribal Canoe Journey encompasses far more that just paddling canoes from place to place. There is daily teaching of life lessons in honor, teamwork and responsibility; whether out on the canoe, in camp, circle time, or during the protocol gatherings and presentations. The teachings are seldom served up in lecture-style. Rather, they are drawn from day to day happenings. The teachings are interesting, life related and fun. They are repeated in many ways, and modeled by people throughout the communities. They become a way of life, contributing to stronger communities and healthy families.

TO LEARN MORE about Native Canoe Journeys / Tribal Canoe Journeys of the Pacific Northwest CLICK HERE to view links to various sources, Tribal and non-tribal websites and news agencies.





Canoes on land at Suquamish Tribe hosting events. Photo.. Copyright 2009 Sue Charles/NW Native Media

Canoes on land at Suquamish Tribe hosting events. Photo.. Copyright 2009 Sue Charles/NW Native Media



 See Photo Gallery of the 2009 Canoe Journey, CLICK HERE.


 This Article written by Sue Charles, a Tribal Canoe Journey participant since 1993 Paddle to Bella Bella. Photo and video journalist, television producer and film maker, Sue and her family have supported the native canoe journeys since their first journey in 1993 when they traveled with the Elwha Warrior canoe and the International canoe for two and a half months who paddled the entire distance from the LaPush, and Port Angeles, Washington to Bella Bella, British Columbia, Canada, and back again. Sue produced and directed the award winning cable television documentary on the epic journey called *Return From Bella Bella*.

Another award winning cultural television documentary filmed, edited and produced by Sue Charles (and her NW Native Media camera team of 6) contained highlights of the 1997 Paddle to La Push – Akalat, beginning from Fort Rupert in the northernmost part of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and culminating on the North Pacific Coast of Washington State.  Sue and her media production company – NW Native Media Productions, have received no financial or in-kind assistance or support for any of their ventures in documenting, promoting and supporting Native Tribal Canoe Journey or related events. Sue also manages several informational websites, lenses and internet groups in support of the native canoe journeys and related events.



One Response

  1. We would love to have you represent your Tribe and bring your watercraft to our event! Please send me a contact address and I will forward you the info.

    Check out our website.


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