One of the more exciting developments in the Pacific Northwest and Cascadia has been the resurgence of tribal canoe families and tribal canoe journeys. In my own tribe, the landing of the canoes in Juneau, AK for our biennial Celebration has become my favorite part of our week long festivities, and it isn’t even an official part of the event. Dance groups are fun, but the physical, mental and spiritual conditioning demanded by a canoe journey are more in line with our traditional forms of tribalism.
Frank Hopper, a contributor for AI/AN ATS and Lingit Latseen really captures what this means with his piece covering the Seattle area protests against Arctic drilling.
Lummi Youth Learn the Bigger Picture: Canoes Join Kayactivists Protesting Arctic Drilling
by Frank Hopper
Before there were roads, interstate highways, light rail systems and airports, there were… canoes. For thousands of years, Native people living on the Salish Sea, the area along the southwest coast of British Columbia and the northwest coast of the United States, used canoes not just for travel, but also as a profound form of cultural expression. Their creation and use were spiritual, teaching respect, camaraderie and selflessness. They used no fossil fuels and created no pollution. And they were powered by the most mysterious of engines, the human heart. So what could be more fitting to use when confronting a 307-foot tall giant capable of poisoning vast areas of ocean and shoreline?