Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Paddle to Lummi

Our local native american tribe is the Lummi tribe - they have inhabited the area now known as Bellingham Bay for hundreds and hundreds of years. Probably the first white man to see them was Juan de Fuca, the Greek sailor who was traveling in the area under the Spanish flag in the late 1500's. The tribal reservation now occupies the local area known as Gooseberry Point. This picture was taken just a few miles from our home, looking back towards Bellingham from the point - with Mt. Baker in the background. I think this is one of the most scenic views in the county.

In 1989, in an effort to include the local costal indigenous peoples in the Washington Centenial events, the lower Puget Sound tribes organized a "Paddle to Seattle" event where tribes from all up and down the coast of Washington & British Columbia were invited to take place in a celebration much like the potlach of days gone by. This event was a success and the gatherings have been repeated up and down the coast over the past 17 years.

"Paddle to Lummi" is the 2007 Intertribal Canoe Journey, during which members of the Coast Salish tribes have traveled by canoe through Puget Sound to the Lummi Nation. They estimate between 7000 and 13,000 people will join in a traditional potlatch, or ceremony of giving, from July 30 to Aug. 4. Over 80 canoes arrived at the Lummi Stomish Grounds yesterday afternoon -

Not only has this event involved the local tribes, but the community as a whole has embraced it, many "non-natives" volunteering time and donating food and money to help the event be a success. It has also been a healing event for many of those who have participated in the canoe trips.

John & I drove out to the Point yesterday afternoon in hopes of seeing some of the canoes. I was only able to take these two pictures from the truck as we drove through - the area was heavily congested traffic wise (take your average county road and add, oh, 2-3000 cars, trucks & vans- not even counting the shuttle busses!) The atmosphere was wonderfully festive - crowded with the thousands of participants and locals who came to help celebrate this wonderful event. Even though John & I were not involved (except to donate to the food barrels at the grocery store) I am tremendously proud of this community for joining together to put on this event. There are more pictures taken by the local newspaper including video of the welcoming ceremonies. I hope everyone who attends this week has a fantastic time - it has already shown itself to be a huge success!


Quail Hill Knits said...

What a great event! It looks like fun.

Kathy L. said...

How neat is that! Wow! You mean I could be near the ocean (bay) there? Where's my suitcase and a U-Haul?

Sharon said...

Thanks for sharing. Because I was a sick child - who says I'm a well adult?! - my parents left the Pacific Northwest for SoCal. I only know your area in their stories.