The Seattle P-I:
Long canoes built in the Northwest style crowded an easily overlooked stretch of rocky Mukilteo beach Thursday, marking a return 152 years in the making.
Known now as Mukilteo Lighthouse Park, the small point of land carried a different name in 1855, when tribal leaders came to terms with territorial Gov. Isaac Stevens and signed the Point Elliott Treaty.
The brief document — it contains only 15 short sections — relegated Puget Sound-area tribes to three reservations while clearing the way for white settlers to control the rest of the territory. In doing so, the treaty set in motion events that nearly eradicated the culture that tribal leaders hoped the document would protect.
But the several hundred canoeists who crossed the Sound from the Kitsap Peninsula came as part of the annual intertribal canoe journey, an event that has come to symbolize a resurgence of culture enjoyed by many Northwest tribal members, said Ray Fryberg, a Tulalip Tribes member who helps organize his tribe’s participation in the journey.
The canoes came to the shore at Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo in shades of black, red, white and brown.
Spectators cheered for the canoes, named Raven, Blue Heron and Big Brother, as the paddlers navigated through the water.
And when the paddlers pulled their canoes ashore, they made history.
Mukilteo was chosen as a landing spot for the 2007 Intertribal Canoe Journey, which ends at Lummi near Bellingham.
Hundreds of people gathered at the shores of the park to watch the canoes land. Approximately 40 canoes are making the journey this year.
The landing marked the first major gathering of American Indians at Mukilteo since the signing of the Point Elliot Treaty in 1855.