The coastal waters of Campbell River will be teeming with more than 100 canoes carrying 2,500 First Nations pullers as they complete their annual Tribal Journeys voyage Aug. 5 – 10.
This is the first time Tribal Journeys has come to Campbell River. Local nations We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum, of Campbell River and Quadra Island respectively, are hosting the event.
For more than 25 years Tribal Journeys has provided a framework for cultural revitalization, as First Nations from territories along the Pacific coast, and the world, travel by canoe to share, learn, and preserve aboriginal traditions.
“Standing Together” – Tribal Journeys 2017 holds special significance for sponsors, Interfor Corporation and the Tyee Club of Campbell River, whose relationships with First Nations are rooted in the land and the sea.
“Interfor has operated on BC’s coast for more than 50 years, and our success has been – and will continue to be – grounded in our partnerships with communities and First Nations,” said Interfor’s Coastal Woodlands Manager, Supply Chain & Land Use, Robin Modesto.
Interfor is providing financial support to the event, as well as construction materials. The company’s employees from Campbell River and Vancouver will help with the feast and canoe transportation.
This year the canoe families will travel from across the Pacific Northwest – as well as some from as far away as Alaska, Hawaii, Taiwan, South Korea and Mexico. More than 8,000 people are expected to witness the canoes and pullers as they are formally welcomed to Campbell River on Saturday, Aug. 5. They will come ashore on the Campbell River spit, the proud home of the Tyee Club of British Columbia.
“The Tyee Club is a fitting landing for the culmination of the Tribal Journeys,” said Sharon Fisher, President of the Tyee Club. “We’ve been here for more than 90 years, upholding a salmon fishing tradition that began with First Nations on this spit thousands of years ago.”
Hundreds of volunteers will manage everything from marine safety, to food and feast preparation, to traffic and parking control.
“An event of this magnitude requires months of planning, and we attribute our success in part, to the dedicated support of our sponsor partners, such as Interfor and the Tyee Club,” said Jodi Simkin, Tribal Journeys organizer and Executive Director of the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre on Quadra Island.
The highlight of the event for pullers is a multi-day, traditional ceremony where each visiting canoe family will share their journey story. The public is welcome to join the feast and opening ceremonies in Campbell River Aug. 5, as well as the protocol ceremonies taking place Aug. 6-10.