Lower Elwha tribe starts planning for hosting 2005 Paddle Journey in Port Angeles

KULLEET BAY, British Columbia — Lower Elwha Klallam tribal members say they will spend the next year preparing for the 2005 Paddle Journey, which will bring thousands of Northwest and Canadian First Nations tribal members to Port Angeles.

Lower Elwha leaders are expecting 60 or more canoes to participate in next year’s journey.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman Frances G. Charles.

“It will take a lot of planning, but we are honored to be the host.”

The planning starts on the heels of the 2004 Paddle Journey, which ended Wednesday on Kulleet Bay, British Columbia.

Charles said hosting the 2005 journey will require thousands of dollars to pay for up to five days of celebration that marks the end of the drug- and alcohol-free journey.

Hosting tribes are responsible for feeding thousands of people during multi-day potlatches, providing gifts for visiting tribes and preparing the reservation to accommodate visitors.

Charles estimated that 8,000 people will attend the festivities, which will cost the tribe about $500,000.

Date yet to be set

A date for the journey has not been set, but tribal officials are looking at the last week of July or the first week of August because it doesn’t conflict with other festivals or events in the Port Angeles area, Charles said.

Tribal officials plan for canoes to land at Hollywood Beach, but most of the dancing, drumming and traditional dinners that follow the Paddle Journey will take place at the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Center west of Port Angeles.

She said an aggressive fund-raising campaign will be unrolled during the next year.

Tribal leaders will seek private and federal grants for the journey, but they will also be asking other tribes and the Port Angeles community for donations, in-kind services and volunteer help during the event.

“We will be asking the community for support,” she said. “This is a huge undertaking for the tribe.”

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