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.
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