“To be on the water is like traveling the same ancestral highways that the people before us did, so it’s really revitalizing to be out here,” said Carly Gomez, Port Gamble Skallalam and the 2016-2017 Senior Miss Skallalam.
On July 21, several canoes arrived at Point Julia in Port Gamble Skallalam’s bay on Day 5 of the 2017 Canoe Journey. As Gomez stated, Point Julia is where “her ancestors were and have been.”
Day 5 – Canoe Journey 2017: Finding Our Way
The journey left Point Julia heading for a potlatch and celebration in British Columbia’s Campbell River, on August 5, 2017. On day six of the journey, filmographer Matika Wilbur had the honor and privilege of paddling on Tulalip’s canoe “Big Brother Wolf.” The canoe as Wilbur states in the video description is “the descendent of a great legacy created by Hank Gobin, one of the original founders of Canoe Journeys.” While paddling on day six, those on “Big Brother Wolf” learned to speak Lashootseed carrying on Gobin’s dream.
Day 6 – Canoe Journey 2017: Tulalip Canoe: Learning To Speak Lashootseed
On July 23, day seven of the Canoe Journey, canoes landed in Swinomish where Wilbur caught up with Ronald Day from Swinomish, who has been one of the skippers of the “Spirit of The Salmon Lady” canoe since 1989. Day recalls the original dream of the Canoe Journey.
Day 7 – Canoe Journey 2017: Traveling Ancestral Highways
Canoes left early morning on day 8 from the Lower Elwha Klallam Nation to paddle across the Straight of Juan De Fuca for Esquimalt, Canada. With the Canoe Journey making it’s way across the invisible border between the United States and Canada, some of the folks participating chose not to continue on the journey. The border has proven difficult for indigenous people to travel their ancestral highways.
Tribal Chairwoman Francis Charles spoke about the kinship of indigenous people and how it reaches beyond borders, “We may be different in color or origin but we are connected one way or another.”
Day 8 – Canoe Journey 2017: Our Indigenous Connections Reach Beyond Borders