Canoe Journey 09 205Nearly 100 canoes and thousands of people descended upon the Suquamish Tribe’s Port Madison Reservation August 3-8 for the annual Tribal Canoe Journey.

For two weeks, canoe families from all over western Washington and British Columbia traveled on their ancestral highways, arriving on the shores of Suquamish Aug. 3 for another week of celebration of their culture. The purpose of the journey is to practice their traditional ways of life, as well as pass these lessons on to younger generations. The work of the older generation is catching on – many of the canoes were filled with young tribal members.

This year also marked the 20th anniversary of “Paddle To Seattle,” when several U.S. tribes and Canadian first nations traveled to Suquamish to sing, dance and share stories before paddling to Seattle. It was then that canoe families were challenged to travel to Bella Bella, B.C., in 1993.

Since then, tribal journeys have taken place annually at various sites throughout the Northwest. For more information, go to www.tribaljourneys2009.com.

Photos can be viewed at Flickr.com.