By Tara Nelson
Each year since 1989, various native nations have hosted a gathering of native canoers from tribes throughout Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. This summer, the gathering, which honors the relationships coastal tribes have with the land, water and each other, is coming to the Lummi Nation in Whatcom County.
The Paddle to Lummi tribal canoe journey (also called “Sqweshenet Tse Schelangen/Honoring Our Way of Life) takes place from July 24 to 28 at the Lummi Stommish Grounds on the Lummi Peninsula.
“The Lummi people are honored to welcome all our relations traveling the traditional highways of our ancestors to participate in this year’s journey,” said Jeremiah Julius, tribal chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council. “Together we will celebrate, honor and share the unique cultural heritage of the Coast Salish people.”
Julius expects approximately 10,000 people and over 100 canoe families on their ancestral shores – something he says will help build strong bridges with neighboring communities. The event culminates with a traditional potlatch song, dance, gift-giving, singing, dancing and stories of the journey. All are welcome to attend the festivities. For more information, visit paddletolummi.org.