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Annual Canoe Journey Heads To Puyallup

Geoffrey Redick
Traditional tribal canoes arrive at Alki Beach



Each year, indigenous people in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia

paddle traditional canoes to meet in one location. This year, the journey is called “The Power Paddle to Puyallup."



Some canoe families spend weeks on the water, and they make several stops along their route. Each time they come ashore, they’re welcomed by members of a local tribe.


On Thursday, the paddlers arrived at Alki Beach in West Seattle, where Muckleshoot elders granted permission for them to come ashore.


Tony Johnson is a member of the Chinook Indian Nation, and a skipper of his family’s canoe. He says on the canoe journey, the hard days are easy and the easy days are hard.


“You’ve got a big, long pull -- 30 miles you gotta do. You’re geared up for a really difficulty day. That’s the one that just flies by. You think you got a short, little 20-miler,and it’s hours and hours beyond your expectation of when you’re getting back,” he said.


Johnson says the difficulty of the journey is a bonding and healing experience.


Canoe families will camp at at Chief Leschi School on ancestral Puyallup land until Aug. 4. They’ll share stories and songs about their cultures, in activities that’ll be open to the public.