Chinook Council Will Make Ancestral Canoe Journey June 12-15, 2012
June 8, 2012 by: Susan Goldsmith
Our dear friend, and treasured Boreas Inn guest, Kate Elliott, sits on the Chinook Indian Nation Council. She sent me a press release about this amazing ancestral canoe journey that will take place next week, from June 12-15, the Chinook Indian Nation Council will travel down the Lower Columbia River Water Trail in traditional canoes. The route, starting from Cathlapotle at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge will include stops in Kalama, Mayger Dock/Clatskanie, Cathlamet, Elliott Point/Pillar Rock and Chinook Point/Fort Columbia.
There are still some seats available to paddle and spots on the ground crew available. The Chinook Indian Tribal Council is extending an invitation to every member of the Tribe and friends of the Tribe to their to join them on this historical canoe trip either in part or for the entire journey.
The decendants of Captain William Clark gave the Chinook Nation the canoe, Klmin (keth-min), pictured above, in September of 2011. This beautiful canoe replaced one of the Chinook Nation’s canoes that was used by the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery. Following the gifting of Klmin, http://www.chinooknation.org/press.html, the Chinook Council agreed to honor its maiden voyage with a journey on their traditional waterways. The Chinook Council consists of eight members: Chairman Ray Gardner, Vice-Chairman Sam Robinson, Secretary/Treasurer Peggy Disney and Representatives Phil Hawks, Charlie Funk, Lisa Elliott, Jeremy Wekell and Kate Elliott.
Accompanied by other Chinooks and friends, the Chinook Council will spend three days and three nights traveling down the Lower Columbia River Water Trail. This will be a celebration of the generous gift they received this past Fall and the great river that is still home to many Chinooks today. In addition to Klmin, this journey will include the Chairman’s family canoe, Itsxut (its-woot), and the Snohomish tribal canoe, Blue Heron. After spending Tuesday night in the Cathlapotle plankhouse, the Chinook Council and People will take Klmin out for a solitary introduction to the waterway early Wednesday morning. They will then place all the canoes in the water and begin the journey. The canoes will have a sendoff by the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
As the canoes travel down the river, Chinook families will host dinner and provide shelter for the travelers, much in the way of their Ancestors. This week of sharing and commemoration will culminate in paddling down to Chinook Point on Friday morning to participate in the private Annual Chinook Nation First Salmon Ceremony. For many years, Chinook have been working with the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Washington State Historical Society and other partners to promote the Lower Columbia River Water Trail. To honor this partnership, the National Park Service and the Port of Ilwaco will be joining the last day of the journey in their own motorized boat.
This is an important and unique regional cultural event–one that is important for all of us living in this area to understand, and to participate in, if we can! It is a deeply moving event for those of us living where the Chinook Tribe flourished (in paradise!). Now once again our friends, the Chinooks, can share with us their gifts of centuries-old knowledge, culture, understanding and joy. They are a national treasure and we are hoping and praying that they will again, soon, achieve the federal tribal recognition that by virtue of their history and influence for centuries, they so rightly deserve.
For more information on media relations and coordination, please contact Kate Elliott, Councilwoman Chinook Indian Nation, Chair, Communications Committee, (425) 945-6744 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the sendoff by the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, please contact: Katie Harrison, Cathlapotle Plankhouse Coordinator.