Tribal canoe journey likely to take 1-year hiatus

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PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) — A large annual event that celebrates the Pacific Northwest's Native American culture with a tribal canoe journey and ceremonies is expected to take a one-year hiatus in 2015 because no tribe has stepped up to host it, officials said.

The Canoe Journey, which draws thousands of participants, will resume in July 2016 for the "Paddle to Nisqually" in western Washington, the Peninsula Daily News reported Wednesday ( ).

Next year will be the first time since 1993 that there won't be a tribal journey, which attracts Native American peoples from as far as Alaska and Canada.

For the journeys, tribes throughout the Northwest gather a team of pullers. They leave their own shores in canoes and visit other tribal lands as they make their way to the host tribe's land.

Landings are followed by meals, storytelling and the exchange of traditional songs, dances and gifts. The journey culminates at a different location each year in a weeklong potlatch and celebration of tribal cultures.

The first canoe journey was the 1989 "Paddle to Seattle," which was conceived by Quinault tribal member Emmet Oliver and Frank Brown of Bella Bella, the newspaper reported.

Usually, a tribe announces two to three years in advance that they'll host the celebration. But by the end of this year's journey, it was becoming clear there would be no host for 2015, said Vickie Carroll, Canoe Journeys coordinator for the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe in Blyn.

"It's a huge, huge undertaking," she said.

Carroll said host tribes feed and provide places to stay for as many as 10,000 people for the final week of ceremonies and games, which can take years for tribes to save for and plan.

"It might have to do with the cost of hosting the journey," she said.


Information from: Peninsula Daily News,

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