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Last Sunday afternoon I was gazing out at the Strait of Juan de Fuca and was excited to see the canoes of numerous tribes making their way to Port Angeles harbor at Hollywood Beach.  I could hear faint singing as they were pulling their canoes along the calm waters.  You couldn't have wished for a better day to be on the sometimes treacherous waters of the Salish Sea.

I loved that there was no enormous container ship in the photo, because other than the small support boat that was accompanying them in case there was trouble, the view could've been a couple hundred years ago when the tribes of the Northwest had this area all to themselves.

Every year since 1989 tribes from Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska trace the ancestral trading routes of Western Washington and British Columbia tribes.

According to the Peninsula Daily News:  "Along the way, pullers ask for permission from other tribes to come ashore.  They typically spend one night at a given tribal area - hosted with food and an exchange of songs, dances and stories - and continue the journey with more canoes and more pullers the next day."  

The final stop is hosted by a different tribe each year.  This year it is being hosted by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.  You can find maps, etc. of the trip on their dedicated website.  The map alone is worth checking out, because the journey some of the tribes take is incredible and all of the journeys must be beautiful.

I went to the ceremony at Hollywood Beach for my first time to experience the ritual.  Tears flowed down my cheeks as the welcoming Elwha Klallam tribe sang and drummed a welcome to each canoe that arrived.  The ritual was touching and warm, a wonderful thing for the spirit to witness in these times.

Each tribe from far and near in turn would paddle up and ask for permission to come ashore their territory and enjoy their hospitality.  (I'm tearing up just talking about it again!)  The Elwha Klallam tribe gives a warm welcome and helps them bring their canoes ashore for the night.

I believe I saw at least one woman in each canoe and in one it was all women except for two men.  The canoes are painted with traditional patterns and are quite beautiful.  I will save some photos of several for a later posts on Wordless Wednesday.

This post is part of Unique Women in Business' Summer Fun blog carnival.  Check out what other kinds of summer fun are happening across the country!


Oh we are two peas in a pod -

Oh we are two peas in a pod - I would have been in need of tissue as well . . . and the image of them (the first one), to imagine that scene as it was long ago - wow!

Wonderful. All your posts

Wonderful. All your posts make me homesick. :)

What an amazing experience to

What an amazing experience to have been a part of. I remember being able to witness the annual pow wow at Grand Portage in northern Minnesota, and it was one of those goose-bump experiences that I'll never forget.I remember reading about the button blankets that some of the NW tribes made. It was neat to see one that a girl was using in one of your pictures.Such an uplifting post! Thanks for sharing this!

Such a lovely post, I am

Such a lovely post, I am envious. I would enjoy that too:)

That sounds like an amazing

That sounds like an amazing experience, one I would have loved to witness. :)

What a great and touching

What a great and touching experience. The traditions of the old are so great. Thanks for sharing.

I get goosebumps just reading

I get goosebumps just reading about your experience.It sounds so amazing. Wendy

What a wonderful thing it

What a wonderful thing it must have been to see! Thanks so much for sharing!

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your wonderfull experience with us. It really must have been very special.Birgitte

how beautiful the faint

how beautiful the faint singing must have been as you saw the canoes coming. the ancestors were right there too. the route map is so impressive. what a wonderful tradition!

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