Native Village 
Youth and Education News

December  2012

A Journey of Culture: The Tribal Canoe Journey in Olympia, Washington
Condensed by Native Village

Washington: The annual Tribal Canoe Journey is the largest Native American gathering in western Washington State. This year's journey was hosted by the Squaxin Island Tribe. More than 10,000 people and 98 canoes were welcomed. Some canoes traveled from as far away as Peru and Florida.

Following the July 29th landing in Olympia, the Squaxin tribe hosted a week-long Potlatch Protocol Celebration. Participants donned regalia, performed traditional dances and songs, and celebrated their culture in tribal fellowship.

In 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded an Our Town grant to Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. The Grant funded workshops so community members could craft traditional art in preparation for the event. Workshops included carving, weaving, printmaking, and painting.  The art was used during the Canoe Journey, exhibited during the Protocol Celebration, and is now on exhibit in neighboring communities.

The following slideshow shares the richness of the art as well as the journey itself.


A group of canoe families conclude their journey, preparing to land on the shore of North Point in the Port of Olympia, Washington. Each canoe family took their turn asking permission to land. As the host, the Squaxin Island Tribe granted each canoe landing permission. On the shore are thousands of cheering spectators, dancers, and dignitaries who wait to welcome and congratulate the "Paddle to Squaxin 2012" participants. Photo courtesy of

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