Squaxin Island Canoe Journey

Saturday, July 28

Photo album of Paddle to Squaxin.
After a very long day of travel from south Florida to Washington state on July 28, I arrived at Squaxin Island tribal land for the canoe journey event. Saturday was a day of travel, seeing friends here, then eating a buffet dinner at the casino which included clams, pan fried oysters, snow crab legs, dungeness crab legs, king crab claws, prime rib, and lot of other foods. We all stuffed ourselves, and we enjoyed the evening together. Since I over ate, I decided to walk around outside for a while. I am staying in my friend Bears camper which is parked in a new RV park at the casino. They are still finishing the landscaping and sod.

Sunday, July 29
I got up this morning, even though it is 3 hours earlier here than eastern time my body clock is adjusting to the time difference. I am volunteering at this event on the Green Team the same as I did at Swinomish canoe journey last year. I worked my morning shift, and the got a bus ride to Olympia where the canoes were landing. What is supposed to be a 30 minute ride took 60 minutes due to traffic, it only took 35 minutes back. Anyway, I missed the beginning ceremony, but saw about two thirds of the 98 canoes that landed. I took lots of photos and I created a photo album for them, which you can see on my photo album link.

Canoes landing in Olympia

Protocol ceremonies begin tomorrow. This is when all tribes that are participating, about 51 of them, tell stories about their tribe, share their culture, history, songs, dances, etc. They are dressed in their tribal regalia which is primarily red, black, and white. The art is whales, otters, paddles, eagles, etc. Many of the canoes have artwork, I took photos of them as they were arriving in Olympia.

The Squaxin tribe is providing breakfast and dinner for thousands of people. Dinner tonight was fantastic. I even got seconds of a few things, including a delicious piece of cake. Even though I am walking LOTS and my feet hurt, I doubt I will lose weight this week. We had clams, grilled salmon, salad, elk stew, and something called Goeduck Chowder. I had no idea what it was but after eating it and asking I found out that it is an extremely large clam. I thought it tasted like clam chowder. It was so good I had seconds. I am also getting meals for 5 vendors that cannot leave their booths. You should see me trying to get 5 plates of food and carrying it quite a distance. I did it last year too so I am finding ways to do it, like stacking plates in plastic bags, or a box I find. I know the meals are appreciated so I like to do it.

I am looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of the week. Between volunteering daily, watching ceremonies, helping my friends that are vendors, getting all of us meals, meeting new people, and walking around the beautiful landscaped tribal grounds, I get lots of exercise. The tribe has a complex of various administration and services buildings, including a police department.  I saw these beautiful colored roses and admired them so I want to share them with you.

Veterans Memorial

The tribes landscapers just completed construction of a really large pond with waterfalls, a veterans water area with bronze paddles standing in the streams, and beautiful walkways connecting the buildings surrounding the pond. There is also a large open structure constructed of the largest tree trunks. The diameter is at about 24 inches. This is where they will house their canoes.

The temperature here is a nice change from Florida. There is no humidity and temperatures range from mid 50s to mid 70s. The evergreen trees are very large and tall and everything is so vibrant and green. The wildflowers are beautiful. We did have a couple of days in 90s and even 100 degrees. The people from Canada and Alaska were really hot.  I agree with them, it was really hot!!! Especially in the football size tents where the ceremonies were held and the one where we ate meals. Thankfully we did not have rain for the entire week.  The Squaxin Tribe did a remarkable job hosting canoe journey, feeding everyone, providing camping facilities, food, etc.

The entire event is totally an amazing and life changing experience. There were so many tribal ceremonies, songs, and dances. I got to meet so many interesting people and hear their stories and find out where they came from.

Next year canoe journey is hosted by the Quinualt Tribe which is on the west coast of Washington, it will be the end of July in case you are able to attend.

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