Process of a Native Tribal Canoe Journey
Each Journey requires much in the way of planning, preparation, and funding for it to become reality.
The Hosting Tribe or Community for the end of journey events, must plan for the several thousand people who will gather in the destination village or tribal community, and stay through several days of activities and celebrations.
Canoe journey participants prepare by attending monthly meetings, Skippers consult tides tables to map out canoe routes, take-off times, and landing locations. Many are busy with canoe building and repair activities, fund-raising efforts, gathering gear and supplies, making regalia, carving paddles, attending Canoe Blessing Ceremonies, dinners, raffles, canoeing practice, and attending cold water safety training.
Invitations are personally delivered to scores of participating Native Tribes and First Nations, and many other preliminary activities need attending to. It is a huge undertaking, on all levels.
In the final weeks before Journey, meetings are used for determining and announcing canoe routes and schedules, stay-over locations, host village responsibilities, study of tide tables and ocean charts, and much more.
Support boats, and vehicles to transport extra pullers, equipment, camp gear, food supplies and mobil kitchen for meal preparations each day, and the ground crew are of great importance.
Canoe Meetings, hosted by various Tribes and Canoe Societies, normally include customary hospitality of food, and time for drumming, singing and sharing, besides attending to the business matters.
By June or early July (about 6 to 8 weeks prior to the end of the journey)... Skippers have their core team of pullers selected for the first legs of the journey, and support boats have been arranged. (That's the plan, anyway.) Canoes have been readied. Host communities will have gathered supplies of food and fleets of staff.
Finally - Camping gear and supplies are packed; pullers, ground crew, and other support crew and participants assemble, and the Journey begins from various locations of Washington, British Columbia, Alaska, and sometimes Oregon.
Originating canoe take-off points and dates differ for each region and community depending on their distance from the final destination.
(For an idea of how this works, you may want to visit TRIBAL JOURNEYS.COM, CANOE-INFO, or the "SCHEDULES" webpage - using links below.)
The canoe journey experience is a mixture: excitement to be there, exhillaration to be on the water traveling in the way the ancestors did, spiritual renewal, tests of endurance, hard work, fun, food and celebration.
It is not a vacation, in any sense of the word, It is a JOURNEY, with plenty of opportunity for personal growth. It will always be a truely priceless and unforgetable experience. This you can be very sure of.