‘A protocol – both humble and generous – of journeying together’

Canoe Journey is a ritual that encompasses great healing, hope, happiness, honor and hospitality. The Journey began with nine canoes as the “Paddle to Seattle” in 1989. As in ancient times, the paddlers can take weeks to reach their destination. The celebration has been reawakening indigenous Native American and First Nation cultures through their first potlatch (official feast for guests) since 1937.

Purpose of the ritual

The Canoe Journey seeks to honor the centuries-old custom of transport, harvest and trade. The arrival is a grand ritual, marked by drumming, dance and song. Tribal elders and leaders proclaim their common history, renew alliances or seek to start fresher, stronger ones. Tribes proclaim their mutual respect and need for each other.

Relationships are strengthened, family ties are renewed and young and old gather together during this drug- and alcohol-free event. Elders believe that through canoe-pulling, a tribe achieves perfect harmony and balance.

Great healing occurs.

It is one of the deeply tragic ironies of history that European explorers failed to comprehend the protocol of welcoming and tradition of generosity deeply embedded in Northwest Coast Native culture at the time of historic contact. The arrival of strangers on the shore was a common occasion.

Differences of language and dress were accounted for in the welcoming protocol. Enemy and friend could be accommodated in dignity and generosity.

In the common gesture of an open hand, a polite request and the display of humble need, Europeans might have built on the common bond they had as seafaring people. As guests, and not as conquerors, the newcomers might have found their place in ‘the New World’ as co-inhabitants on these shores.

“Five hundred years of history will not be unwritten, but the lessons still apply. We are all here together. Our lives are now inextricably intertwined. In a grand sense, we share the shores and we share the canoe.

And as we learn together, we rediscover a basic language — a protocol — both humble and generous, of journeying together.”

From NOAA Ocean Explorer by Robert Steelquist “The ‘journey’ is an opportunity to teach prevention through our culture,” explains Herman Williams Jr., tribal council chairman of the Tulalip Tribes. “It brings self-esteem and reminds us all where we come from.”

The Warm Springs Canoe Project (N’chi Wanapum) is for Native American youth of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation to connect with, interact, and bond with their adult community in a positive way that inspires, encourages and empowers one another.

The N’chi Wanapum project is to be led by Native American Youth of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation while adults and young adults will serve as the advisors to encourage a sustainable and empowering project for generations to follow.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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