Tribes’ paddle journey to end today

BELLINGHAM – Intricately carved and fiberglass canoes from North Olympic Peninsula tribes are among those reaching the end of their long journey to Lummi Island today.

The Lummi tribe is scheduled to begin the ceremonial greeting of canoes today as they arrive for the Paddle to Lummi’s weeklong celebration with dancing and feasting at the reservation near Bellingham.

Among those expected to land at Lummi are the paddlers from the Peninsula.

They include a Hoh canoe; the Quileute’s three canoes; a Makah canoe that began its journey with a bough of cedar on its prow for protection; and the Jamestown S’Klallam and Lower Elwha Klallam canoes.

The Lower Elwha’s canoes include Paddle for Life, a canoe sponsored by the tribe’s Pink Paddle Project, which joined the journey in support of breast cancer survivors and research.

Paddle for Life was among the 50 canoes welcomed by the Tulalip tribe on Friday on their way north to the Lummi.

Roberta “Birdie” Kimberly, coordinator of the Pink Paddle project, told the Bellingham Herald that the start of their journey from Port Angeles was in rain and fog, and that she was grateful for subsequent fair weather.

“When it’s wet and cold, your spirits get a little down,” she said.

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