July 31st, 2007
The Bellingham Herald reports that thousands of peopleÂ flocked to theÂ Lummi Reservation on Monday because nearly 80 canoes landed there â€” some after almost a month of travel â€” marking the start of the weeklong Intertribal Canoe Journey.
Paddlers from as far away as Bella Coola, B.C., began landing at 4 p.m., chanting and pounding their paddles on the bottom of their canoes as they arrived.
The canoe journey has been held annually since 1989â€™s Paddle to Seattle, but this is the first time that the gathering has been held at Lummi. The journey is partly a revival of the Northwest potlatch tradition of ceremonial gift-giving, a tradition not practiced at Lummi since the 1930s.
Dozens of drummers and singers from various tribes played and sang along the beach, welcoming the travelers, as announcers introduced each canoe.
Canoes traveling south to Lummi landed first, one by one along the shore. Those paddling north came ashore nearly an hour later, in unison.Â Lummi Nation members announced a welcome to each individual canoe, after a representative from each asked permission to come ashore.