Native Village
Youth and Education news
September 2010 Volume 1

Makah welcome Tribal Canoe Journey to Neah
Condensed by Native Village


Washington: 86 canoe teams participated in the the Makah tribe's 2010 Tribal Canoe Journey.  Billed as the "Paddle to the Beginning of the World," the yearly journey is part of a weeklong celebration on the Makah Reservation.  More than 50 Pacific Northwest tribes and Canadian First Nations joined in the traditional ceremonies.

Before the canoes landed, about 100 female Makah dancers danced in a line formation on the beach.Thousands of onlookers joined in welcoming songs while sitting on bleachers, logs and the sand.

The teams landed at Neah Bay in a 4-hour landing ceremony while several thousand looked on.  Each canoe anchored to a rope about 50 yards offshore. Then a member of each canoe team asked the Makah for permission to come ashore, as is tradition.

"We're glad you're here," said Joe McGimpsy, who welcomed each canoe on the public address system.  "Thank you for your journeys here today."

Maria Parker Pasqua spoke to the pullers in the Makah language. Trial Chairman Michael Lawrence then recited her words in English.

"On behalf of the people of the cape, I am honored for your presence," Lawrence said from atop a longhouse built for the Tribal Journey.  "On behalf of the tribe and the families that have suffered [cultural] losses, we have been given the direction to carry on -- carry on and make our people proud -- and that's what we're going to do.

"The Makah tribe has long been rich in culture and has carried on our rich songs and dances, even when the government attempted to tell us to no longer practice our cultural ways."

Vice Chairman Nathan Tyler described the Canoe Journey as a "historic" event for the Makah.

"We share many of our songs and dances during our annual Makah Days celebration, which in 2010 will mark the 86th year of this event," Lawrence said. "With Tribal Journeys 2010, another page in the history is written. We are thrilled that we are a part of history with you, and overwhelmed by the amount of growing participation that Tribal Journeys is witnessed to each year.

"We, the Makah tribe, honor your attendance," Lawrence continued. "We welcome your songs and dances. We invite you to share a meal with us.  We encourage you to keep your traditions alive and your culture strong."

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