Tall ships, canoes sail together in Canoe Journey | Kitsap Week

The tall ship Lady Washington, under sail in Commencement Bay near Tacoma.                - Miso Beno / Courtesy
The tall ship Lady Washington, under sail in Commencement Bay near Tacoma.
— image credit: Miso Beno / Courtesy

This version corrects the date of the 2013 Canoe Journey/Paddle to Quinault.

History comes full circle this summer in the annual Canoe Journey.

The tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain will escort up to 100 canoes from First Nations in Washington and British Columbia, as they travel along the open coast of the National Marine Sanctuary from Neah Bay to Taholah at the Quinault Nation, which hosts the Journey Aug. 1-6.

The tall ships were invited by the Quinault Nation to escort the oceangoing canoes. 2013 is the 225th anniversary of first contact between the United States and the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest.

Launched in 1989 as part of the Washington Centennial, the Lady Washington is a wooden replica of one of the first U.S.-flagged ships to visit the west coast of North America. In 1788, the original Lady Washington arrived off the coast of what would later become Oregon to trade with the area’s indigenous people for furs. She also traded along the coast of Vancouver Island before returning to Boston.

“We are very excited to be able to participate in this important cultural event,” said Les Bolton, executive director of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority.

“2013 marks the 225th anniversary of the first contact between the newly independent United States and the rich coastal cultures of the Pacific Northwest. Since that first contact seven generations ago, our world has changed significantly. We want to encourage all people to consider where we began, where we are today, and give thought to the world we want our descendants, seven generations from now, to inherit.”

The Canoe Journey traces its roots to 1989, when educator Emmett Oliver of the Quinault Nation and Frank Brown of the Heiltsuk First Nation developed a canoe journey held in conjunction with the Washington State Centennial. The resulting event — a journey from indigenous lands in Washington and Canada to Seattle — sparked interest among other Northwest Coast Native people.

The Canoe Journey has been an annual event since 1993, with visits and sharing of traditional songs, dances and foods at indigenous nations en route to the host destination. In Kitsap County, canoes will visit Suquamish July 19 and Port Gamble S’Klallam July 20.

The Canoe Journey is a drug- and alcohol-free event.


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