A Challenging Tribal Canoe Journey Strengthens Culture – Earthfix

The incoming tide breaks at Angie Mason’s shins and soaks her rolled jeans. She stands unfazed by the surf, waiting to welcome her son and daughter ashore on their tribe’s canoe. To Mason — of the Bella Bella First Nation — the splashing salt water is the least of her worries. Traveling from the remote central coast of British Columbia, the Bella Bella tribe paddled south for more than a month, logging 15 to 20 miles a day. The tribal canoe journey is an annual celebration that recognizes the cultural importance of canoe travel to indigenous people. This year’s journey was the Paddle to Quinault, with a final destination at the shores of the Quinault Indian Reservation on the Olympic Peninsula. Mason was one of thousands gathered to welcome 89 canoes there last week. Katie Campbell, Sarah Vaira and Ryan Hasert report.


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