Originally Published on Cortes Radio
What was the role of the canoe in pre-contact indigenous culture? What caused its decline? And how are canoe journeys finding their way back to Klahoose and her sister nations? In this story, Deep Roots story producer Roy Hales outlines the Klahoose Tribal Journey.
The Canoe Culture
“The significance of the canoe was undeniable. Almost every person, or every second person had access to a canoe. We know so little about the canoe culture when you consider that in the totality of First Nations, how important it was. It carried us to food; it carried our relations from community to community; it made economics possible…” – Jodi Simkin, Director, Cultural Affairs and Heritage, Klahoose First Nation.
In 1884: “The Canadian Government decided they were going to keep us restricted to reserves and we had to ask permission to leave. If I wanted to visit my grandmother, I wait for the Indian Agent to come and I’d say, ‘I want to travel to Ladysmith to visit my grandmother.’ I had to get a pass to leave the community.” – Michelle Robinson, Social Development Manager and councillor, Klahoose Nation
Awakening The Canoes
The awakening started in 1989, with what has become an annual event for First Nations along the West Coast from Alaska to California. This summer the Klahoose take part in their second tribal journey: the Power Paddle to Puyallup . Washington, where they join in a celebration (July 28 – August 4, 2018) consisting of singing, dancing, stories and sharing food.