Intertribal Canoe Journey at Alki Beach

Joe from Intertribal Canoe Journey at Alki“It’s a cedar bark hat” he said. “We’re making the Canoe Journey. We’re going to Suquamish next. It’s 30 miles.” His name was Joe, he was a big guy, and friendly, and told us they’d had a great day, the weather was good and the tides were on their side. I was feeling lucky to find the paddlers at Alki – especially because we had a guest in our company for the afternoon and this was an event unique to the Pacific Northwest.

Northwest Native culture is something we’ve had the unplanned fortune to stumble upon before. I like it when that happens because it’s not culture pre-packaged for my consumption as a tourist. We find people to talk to, maybe eat some salmon or hear about something new, and then, we’re on our way. I appreciate the realness of it, they way it’s not scrubbed from modern details to make me think native culture has some how stopped in time like a TV fantasy. The way a guy wearing a beautifully woven traditional hat with a feather can also be holding big cup of coffee that says Tully’s on it in big letters.

Salmon CanoeWe shook hands and then Joe had to run off and pass along that big cup of Tully’s coffee to his cousin – fuel for the next part of the journey, I’m sure. We went down on the sand to take a better look at the canoes.

We hope the weather treats these travelers kindly, that the breeze is at their strong backs, that the tides run their direction, and that they enjoy their journey as much as they enjoy the destination.

There’s more information about the 2008 Paddle to Cowichan here.

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6 thoughts on “Intertribal Canoe Journey at Alki Beach

  1. I know the exact feeling of stumbling into another parallel culture and are briefly invited in as a guest and not an observer. It is like receiving a gift.

  2. Thank you for your open heart to the canoes, the very nice review and photo’s of our Tribal Canoes landing on Alki Beach – one of the many beautiful stops along the route to Cowichan, B.C. where Tribal Journeys 2008 will culminate this year with 100 or more Native ocean-going canoes making a very impressing entry on July 28th and will participate in traditional ceremonies, singing, dancing, feasting and gift giving through August 1st. Everyone is welcome to view and attend the various stops along the way and the end events at Cowichan. Full details with canoe routes, stopover info, journeys insights and maps on Thanks again!
    Sue and Ben Charles – Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Port Angeles, WA

  3. That post was beautiful to read–the way you describe the people AND your feelings gave me goosebumps. And then, when I come to post about how moved I was reading it, I see that someone involved with the canoes has also posted. How nice, all the way around. =)

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