The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.


Published: Saturday, July 23, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

Native peoples from near and far to gather for Canoe Journey celebration

  • Jim Knapp (right) and Felix Solomon laugh as they work on a cedar canoe for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe on Tuesday morning at Solomon's home on the Lummi ...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Jim Knapp (right) and Felix Solomon laugh as they work on a cedar canoe for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe on Tuesday morning at Solomon's home on the Lummi Peninsula. The canoe will be displayed at the welcome ceremony of the Salish Sea Canoe Journey celebration.

  • Matt Warbus, a Lummi language teacher, uses a planer on a cedar dugout canoe Felix Solomon is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Matt Warbus, a Lummi language teacher, uses a planer on a cedar dugout canoe Felix Solomon is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

  • Matt Warbus, a Lummi language teacher, uses a planer on a cedar dugout canoe Felix Solomon is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Matt Warbus, a Lummi language teacher, uses a planer on a cedar dugout canoe Felix Solomon is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

  • The front of the cedar canoe Felix Solomon is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    The front of the cedar canoe Felix Solomon is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

  • Artist Felix Solomon pauses inside his home on the Lummi Peninsula on Tuesday. Solomon is currently working on a canoe for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Artist Felix Solomon pauses inside his home on the Lummi Peninsula on Tuesday. Solomon is currently working on a canoe for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

  • Artist Felix Solomon sands the nose of a cedar canoe he is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Artist Felix Solomon sands the nose of a cedar canoe he is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

  • The front of the cedar canoe Felix Solomon is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe. The canoe is called a shovel nose because of the shape of the front...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    The front of the cedar canoe Felix Solomon is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe. The canoe is called a shovel nose because of the shape of the front and rear ends.

  • As Jim Knapp (left) looks on, Matt Warbus, a Lummi language teacher, works on a cedar dugout canoe Felix Solomon is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Trib...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    As Jim Knapp (left) looks on, Matt Warbus, a Lummi language teacher, works on a cedar dugout canoe Felix Solomon is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

  • Artist Felix Solomon sands the bottom of a cedar canoe he is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe on Tuesday morning at his home on the Lummi Peninsula...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Artist Felix Solomon sands the bottom of a cedar canoe he is carving for the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe on Tuesday morning at his home on the Lummi Peninsula.

LA CONNER -- About 12,000 people are expected to descend on this small town and the Swinomish Reservation on Monday for the 2011 Salish Sea Canoe Journey celebration.
People from the Tulalip, Stillaguamish and Sauk-Suiattle tribal communities are among those who plan to attend.
Native tribes and bands from Canada, the Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound, Oregon, Alaska and as far away as New Zealand and Hawaii are scheduled to pull their canoes to a Swinomish Channel beach for the 2 p.m. welcome ceremony.
Also to be welcomed and displayed on the beach Monday is the latest shovel-nose dugout river canoe by Coast Salish scholar and artist Felix Solomon of the Lummi Tribe. The 30-foot canoe, commissioned by the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, is similar to the smaller river canoe Solomon carved last year for the Stillaguamish Tribe.
Shovel-nose canoes were the pickup trucks of the river people, used for hunting, fishing and foraging, for hauling goods and family travel. Most of the other canoes at the journey celebration will have prows designed to ply ocean waters. To navigate the rivers, the inland tribes used blunt-nosed canoes with no prows.
Canoe takes shape
Earlier this week, Solomon, his friend Jim Knapp of Arlington, and his cousin, Matt Warbus, sanded and oiled the Sauk-Suiattle's new canoe.
It was carved from an ancient cedar log found in the Stillaguamish River watershed. The log weighed thousands of pounds. The canoe that emerged weighs about 400 pounds, with its one-inch-thick sides and two-inch-thick flat bottom.
A group of more than 50 people gathered at Solomon's studio July 2 to witness and participate in the all-day steaming of the canoe. Red-hot steel from a fire was placed in water poured into the belly of the boat. As the canoe's sides relaxed in the steam and took on its current shape, tribal elders prayed and sang.
On hand from the Sauk-Suiattle were cultural director Norma Joseph, Nancy DeCoteau and carver Kevin Lenon, who also worked many hours to help create the eight-man canoe.
Sauk-Suiattle Chairwoman Janice Mabee said the steaming ceremony was especially spiritual.
"It was very moving. The canoe is important to us because it will help us revive old traditions," Mabee said. "Our grandfathers used shovel-nose canoes to travel on the Suiattle River. Watching the canoe come to life made my heart swell with pride."
Solomon is pleased with the new canoe.
"It has a powerful spirit and it's beautiful," Solomon said. "But it isn't really about the canoe as much as it is about how the canoes are bringing us together to bring our culture back to life."
Knapp, who is part Snohomish, volunteered to work on the Stillaguamish canoe last year and wrote a small book about the experience.
"My great-grandfather used simple tools to carve a 40-foot shovel-nose canoe for travel on the Snohomish River," Knapp said. "I only wish I could have been there. You wonder what the conversations were while he and his relations worked."
A long trip
Lenon is scheduled Saturday to load up a crew of 10 and head down the Sauk and Skagit rivers to La Conner for the Canoe Journey gathering.
The trip will be the first in generations.
Instead of using their new canoe, which still needs some finishing touches by Solomon, the Sauk-Suiattle group plans to travel with Shane Turnbull of Chinook Expeditions in Index.
During the journey downstream, they will monitor the water quality of the rivers for the U.S. Geological Survey, Lenon said.
Most of the other canoe crews traveling to the gathering are participating in the water quality survey. A sensor hangs from the back of each canoe, collecting data throughout the day.
The Sauk crew plans to stay the night along the Skagit River near Sedro-Woolley and arrive at Swinomish on Sunday evening, Lenon said.
"We will be very tired, but we will be happy to join everybody," Lenon said.
Song, dance, stories
The Canoe Journey gathering and potlatch runs through July 31. The Swinomish Tribe has built three pavilions on the beach, each shaped like a giant Coast Salish hat. Throughout the week tribal members plan to tell the stories of their history in word, song and dance and share the tales of their journeys. Some events are not open to the public.
In 1989, the year of Washington's state centennial, tribes in region traveled to Seattle to revive a tradition of gathering to celebrate their connection to salmon, water and each other.
The canoe journey became an annual event, with some tribes traveling in canoes for weeks on the open waters of the Salish Sea to the summer gathering hosted each year by a different tribe. About 130 canoes are expected next week at Swinomish, where the tribal community plans to feed thousands of people two meals a day.
For more information, go to www.paddletoswinomish.com.







Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...
HeraldNet Classifieds