Paddle journey canoes greeted at Fort Worden — next stop Jamestown Beach near Sequim today
Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
A Lummi tribal canoe is the first to arrive Sunday morning at Fort Worden State Park. It is greeted by Maurice Charles of the Lower Elwha tribe.
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Peninsula Tribal Canoe Schedule■ Today (Monday), 25 to 30 canoes are expected to land at Jamestown Beach off Jamestown Road just north of Sequim starting at about 11 a.m.
They will be welcomed by the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe, which will host a dinner and tribal dance performances at the Sequim High School cafeteria at 601 N. Sequim Ave., later that evening.
■ Lower Elwha Klallam tribal members expect to welcome multiple waves of canoes — many coming over from Vancouver Island — to Hollywood Beach in downtown Port Angeles starting as early as 9 a.m. Tuesday for a two-day stay.
■ Canoes will stop overnight Thursday at Pillar Point near Clallam Bay before arriving in Neah Bay on Friday.
■ Makah tribal members will greet the canoes Friday at the beach in front of the Makah Tribal Senior Center at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. before hosting a dinner and tribal dance performances at the Makah community gym near the Makah Marina.
■ A day later, as many as 50 Makah tribal members and others are expected to welcome the pullers when they land at Cape Alava after the greeters embark on a 4-mile hike from the Lake Ozette parking lot at about 10 a.m. Saturday.
■ The canoes then will spend two days in LaPush, hosts of the Quileute Nation, after they come into Quileute Marina, next Sunday, July 28.
The time they arrive will depend upon the tides and the time they leave Cape Avela, organizers said. The travel time from the Ozette area is between four and six hours.
■ Elders and members of the Hoh tribe will meet the fleet of canoes near the mouth of the Hoh River on July 30, with canoes expected to arrive between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
■ The next day, the canoes will head for the Quinault Nation, where they will be greeted by Quinault tribal elders and members near the mouth of the Queets River on July 31, then again Aug. 1 before a week of camping, potlatches and celebration at Point Grenville, just north of Taholah.
— Peninsula Daily News
“When it's this foggy, we start singing so the pullers can follow the sound and know where to land,” said Terri McQuillen, a Makah member from Port Townsend who was on hand for the ceremonial greeting of pullers on their way to the Aug. 1-6 celebration at Taholah.
About 100 people were on the beach near the Port Townsend Marine Life Center at Fort Worden at 9 a.m., but by the time canoes started arriving an hour later, that number had tripled.
The first canoe was from the Lummi Nation, followed almost immediately by two more from the Nooksack tribe.
Thousands of tribal members from across the Pacific Northwest and Canada are taking part in the annual journey on their way to the Quinault Nation on the Olympic Peninsula's central western coast.
During the journey, pullers stop after a day in the canoes to be greeted by members of tribes who provide food, shelter and a potlatch celebration.
At each beach, pullers ask permission to come ashore, and local tribal members sing out a welcome.
The Jamestown S'Klallam, Port Gamble S'Klallam and Lower Elwha Klallam tribes were scheduled to greet the pullers at Fort Worden, the first stop on the North Olympic Peninsula.
McQuillen said about 25 canoes were expected to arrive throughout the day Sunday. Pullers were camping at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds before leaving for Jamestown Beach this morning.
“This is a healing experience,” McQuillen said of participation in the journey.
“My mother [the late tribal elder Mary McQuillen] always said there are no social programs that help Native American youth from dealing with the anger, hatred and racism that they deal with every day.
“On the journey, you learn to trust the skipper, follow the leader and do what's best for you.”
The journey also offers an opportunity to resolve differences, McQuillen said.
“You can never get onto a canoe with any ill feelings,” she said. “If you don't leave them ashore, then the spirits will feel the conflict and the journey will be disrupted.”
“After a canoe tips, the first thing you do before continuing is to heal the bad emotions and resolve these conflicts,” she added.
Jefferson County Commissioner David Sullivan, who said he attends the landing every year, said the event helps people understand the area's history.
“This is a really visible way of preserving the culture that was here before us,” Sullivan said.
“With this context, you can see what it was really like — culturally, environmentally and economically — and it brings the people who were here before us into our consciousness.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at email@example.com.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz contributed to this article.
Last modified: July 21. 2013 8:43PM