Tsimshian 2007 plans

Tsimshian Historic Cultural Event 2007

A Major tribal historic event will be happening August 2007 for the Tsimshian Tribe of Metlakatla, Alaska. The project was started by Eli Milton, who is a noted Tsimshian Carver / Artist now living in Anacortes, Washington. Eli will build 14 Tsimhian Canoes in the heartland of Tsimshian Country; in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. This happening is attracting carvers, artists of the region. 

A cultural event of this magnitude has never before happened for the Tsimshian people. It will be to commemorate Tsimshians at Sea for their trade route extended to the ice edge of the Arctic Circle; known among the Tlingits, Pacific Coast Tribes; Makah Tribe traded with Tsimshians; and travels extended to California Coast seeking the abalone shells which are used in Tsimshian Regalia, headdresses and other uses for the Tsimshian Button Blanket. 

This undertaking will gather together Tsimshian Carvers and Artists from Alaska, Washington and British Columbia to learn, to carve, and to revive the art of canoe building, with tribal advisors, mentors, and master artists overseeing the Tsimshian Canoe Project. It instills upon those participating a cultural learning experience, learn more about not only themselves but preserving and maintaining their arts. For the Tsimshian it is to commemorate their return to the sea for they once traveled great distances on their trade route. This Cultural Event is a revival of that return to the sea, for the Tsimshian are well known along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to California.  

Reviving the art of canoe making among Tsimshian deserves documenting this cultural event to preserve as tribal history, mark as returning to the sea, mark as cultural reminder of the extensive trade route of the Tsimshian, mark as mode of travel for the ancestors of the Tsimshian, use to teach the younger generation the greatness of the Tsimshian Tribe and how far and wide they traveled in their trade routes. It is reviving the maritime cultural tradition of the Tsimshian who had command of the sea and trade was extensive.

For the Tsimshian there is a direct cultural tie to the ocean, the resources of the waters, direct contact with other tribes on the whole Pacific Coast, and one in the spirit with the ocean. 

Tsimshian are at home on the sea and even today their livelihood comes from the ocean with modern day vessels. August 2007 these Canoes will be paddled to Metlakatla, Alaska from Metlakatla, British Columbia for a re-enactment of Tsimshian Tribe move from BC to Alaska. And further celebration will take place with Founder’s Day Celebration where a Chief’s name will be brought out which means a huge tribal potlatch. Good time to visit Metlakatla, Alaska first full week of August 2007 to see a tribal historic event happen. 

It will be recorded, documented, filmed, photographed and placed on CDs. We are seeking corporate sponsorship for this huge cultural event. Contact Eli Milton or Terrance Booth, Sr. . 

For sponsorship Canoe will have corporate logo on it or fly corporate banner on travels. The Paddle to Muckleshoot event July 31st in Seattle area will be the kick-off and announcement date of the Tsimshian Event in both British Columbia and Alaska.

Reported by Terrence Booth

4 Responses

  1. I am interested in learning more about your longboat production and the upcoming Tsimshian Cultural event to be held in Alaska this August. Might we find an opportunity to visit you in Washington State prior to the event?


    Caril Ridley

    • Caril Ridley we tried to update all of the sitew where we announced the Tsimshian Cultural Event and Celebration. We moved it to Year 2011 dates not set yet. We had thought we had sponsorship for the event but that group pulled out on us and we had to take some steps back. We notified our Tsimshian Hereditary Chiefs about the postponement and with their blessing we will move it to the year 2011. Mean time canoe project is still happening and one class held already on making the Tsimshian Canoe. Email me on more information.

  2. Newly updated website. Please stop by and visit. It would be nice to get positive feedback and comments.

  3. Update on Tsimshian Cultural Event

    March 3, 2007

    Native Nations Sustainable Alliance (NNSA) is submitting for cultural grant applications to provide for funding of the cultural event that got postpone for lack of any funds to get it started and going. We tried to contact all that expressed any interest in the Tsimshian Cultural Event through phone calls, emails and posting on the Internet of our Postponement.

    The postponement has received good reception for it gives everyone time to plan their trip to the Tsimshian Cultural Event. What has happen instead of the Tsimshian Canoes going from British Columbia to Metlakatla, Alaska we have reversed the canoe journey by going from Alaska to British Columbia. The Tsimshian from Alaska are the people that are re-connecting their ties culturally, family re-unions, individuals meeting their relatives who had moved from British Columbia to Alaska. Chief Alfie McDames has the name of families who located to Metlakatla, British Columbia and know that he is directly related to families in Alaska. He will present family names to the Tsimshian of Alaska. He will also have family re-union with Booth, Buxton and Eaton Families and will share his findings of family names and who their relatives are in British Columbia.

    NNSA has posted on the Internet of the postponement and has contacted several people that had expressed an interest in participating with this Tsimshian Historic Cultural Event. Tsimshian Canoes will be made in Anacortes, Washington by Eli Milton and the group he has selected to work with him. Completion of the Canoes they will be shipped to Metlakatla, Alaska temporary stored and canoe journey retracing route of ancestors who had moved from British Columbia to Alaska. If we had missed anyone please give us a contact and we will still post updates on what we are doing with the cultural event.

    March 3, 2007 the Heard Museum had its 49th Annual Art show and NNSA took the opportunity to promote the Tsimshian Cultural Event with distribution of brochures letting the public know we are fundraising for the event. We are accepting contributions and donations our address for this is:

    Native Nations Sustainable Alliance
    Tsimshian Cultural Projects
    PO Box 93653
    Phoenix, Arizona 85070-3653

    NNSA is a Native American Non-profit and donation and contributions are tax deductible. Look forward to your help and assistance to help us write a new chapter in modern name Tsimshian History and help us that we are able to pass it on to the next generation.

    Our mission:
    “Develop resilient tribal leaders advocating for tribal education advancements, tribal economic sufficiency, tribal self-determination and cultural inclusiveness and develop the foundation and infrastructure that promotes and encourages the coming together of our Tsimshian Nation.”

    Long range goal is to establish a multi-purpose cultural heritage center of learning for the entire Tsimshian Nation to preserve the language, arts, music, dances, history and all related documentation and literary materials and seek funding to return Tsimshian Artifacts to the Tsimshian Nation. This Center will include art studios for the artists, carving sheds for carvers, mentoring program to teach and encourage younger generation who we are through the arts, large enough of a place for our tribal feasts, cultural celebrations and meetings and Tsimshian Gatherings.

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