Paddlers in the 2014 Tribal Journey get ready to land at Sidney. The paddlers return to the Salish Sea and the WSANEC area in July 26. (Steven Heywood/News staff file)

Paddlers in the 2014 Tribal Journey get ready to land at Sidney. The paddlers return to the Salish Sea and the WSANEC area in July 26. (Steven Heywood/News staff file)

60 canoes part of Tribal Journey to the shores of Island first nations

Tsawout and Tseycum First Nations to welcome paddlers July 26 at Tsawout Spit.

  • Jul. 24, 2017 9:30 a.m.

Morgan Cross / News staff

Over 60 canoes will land at Tsawout Spit July 26, where paddlers will be greeted by Tsawout and Tseycum First Nations as part of the annual Tribal Journeys. First Nations from the Washington State region will drum, sing and ask permission to come ashore following traditional protocol. Song, dance, drumming and a meal will be had that evening, before the blend of Nations camps out on Tsawout Spit.

The next morning, all depart together to continue the Tribal Journey to Tsartlip territory. Paddlers plan to make several more stops along the east coast of Vancouver Island before finishing in Campbell River.

For those departing from Tsawout Spit, the Tribal Journey begins July 26 and ends August 10.

Monique Huber of the Tsawout band and Tseycum Chief Tanya Jimmy have been largely responsible for organizing the 2017 journey. Huber, a member of the land crew which drives camping supplies up Vancouver Island to meet paddlers at each destination, said the trip is important because it “brings back the traditional ways of travel for the Coast Salish people.”

“Traditionally, we would travel to different communities and be trading for different resources and tools,” she said. “We’re connecting with our culture and connecting with the water and land.”

At each stop on the way to Campbell River, the First Nations will share cultures and depart with more paddlers each morning. Ultimately, there will be approximately 110 canoes on the water.

Huber added that all are invited to witness the traditional arrival on July 26 at Tsawout Spit.

“It’s really good for our youth. I think it’s important for us to instill that traditional knowledge into our youth and I think it gives them a good sense of belonging,” she said.

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