Paddle to Squaxin 2012
A Squaxin elder’s dream was realized when one hundred and two canoe families journeyed from as far away as British Columbia, Florida, Peru, Northern California, Japan and New Zealand to Squaxin Island Reservation to participate in ceremony, song, dance, and feast on Squaxin Island.
Tribal journeys began in 1989 when nine canoes paddled to Seattle, Washington. Each year, the number of canoes increases, because people from around the world wish to share in this experience and recreate this journey for their people.
2012 Tribal Journey
July 29, 2012, upon their arrival in Squaxin, each canoe family requested permission to come ashore in their traditional language and with their ceremonial protocol. Several thousand people were in attendance. Upon landing, families exchanged ceremonial gifts, wisdom and knowledge. Canoe families dressed in their traditional regalia, shared song and dance with all attendees. The landing ceremony lasted up to several hours as each canoe was welcomed. A very sacred water ceremony took place that honoured the gift of water and the knowledge of the importance of water to both indigenous and non-indigenous people.
Charlene Kris, Squaxin Museum Director, Squaxin Council member exclaimed, “We put on our best to honor our guests”.
The Museum Library and Research Center, the Squaxin Island Canoe Family and the Squaxin Island Tribe honored the people by gathering together in song, dance and sharing indigenous food. Each canoe was requested to bring an indigenous food to share with everyone.
On August 1, 2012, Squaxin invited all tribal nations to join in a feast. Indigenous foods from a multitude of nations were shared along with the knowledge of the foods. There were buffet lines with a central section where all the indigenous foods were. Five-thousand people were fed for every day of the celebrations!
Squaxin Island people, also known as “The People of the Water”, originate from the seven inlet watersheds of the Southern Salish Sea. These are the Noo-She-Chatl (Henderson Inlet Watershed), Steh-Chass (Budd Inlet Watershed),Squi-Aitl (Eld Inlet Watershed),T’Peeksin (Totten Inlet Watershed), Sa-Heh-Wa-Mish (Hammersley Inlet Watershed), Squawksin (Case Inlet Watershed), and S’Hotle-Ma-Mish (Carr Inlet Watershed). Traditionally, Squaxin people lived very long lives, and the Squaxin people believed it was because of the indigenous food and the wealth and goodness that was stored in the nutrients of their food.
Photo Credit: Squaxin Island Photo Collection