Tribal Canoe Journey Lauches

On June 26th, 2014, two of our staff members are embarking on a trip of a life time. They are off with other Squamish Nation members to Bella Bella on a Tribal Canoe Journey, where they will meet with other Nations from around British Columbia. They will travel from Squamish up to Bella Bella along a route that many of us could only imagine in our dreams(the Route).

Roxy Lewis and Swo-wo Gabriel are off on an adventure and we couldn’t be prouder of them!

We were able to catch up with Swo-wo before they left and asked him some questions on his expectations.
We are hoping to connect with Roxy when she returns in a few weeks and will keep all our readers updated on different elements of their journey.

About Us Photo

Roxy Lewis in a traditional Woven Hat

Click this link to learn more about the TRIBAL CANOE JOURNEYS 2014 QATUWAS FESTIVAL
or visit their facebook page: Tribal Canoe Journeys

Our interview with Swo-wo Gabriel

Walk us through some of the feelings you have, in taking part of this year’s tribal journeys?
When I first started to join Siyamin Stampch (canoe families name) last year I had a totally different feeling then, I was excited but I was excited different then I am now. And from there and now it’s been an arch of feelings.

I still am excited now; I’m more excited for the camping, spending time with friends and canoe pulling. And I’m excited for the arrival in Bella Bella and to share the culture with other Nations as well.

Who inspired you to take part in this journey?
It would definitely be Dustin Rivers and Ray Natraoro, they have been on many canoe journeys.

We went on a mini paddle from Porteau Cove to Defense Island and we actually paddled on the Xaays canoe(This canoe lives it’s off water life in the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre). When we went on that journey it was the first ocean canoe I’ve ever been on. We camped for a day or two and both Ray and Dustin shared many canoe journey stories. I learn something new from both of them every time I see them. From what they tell me it can become very captivating. Some people go on one canoe journey and then they soon realize that they have to go on all of the canoe journeys.

How long is the Journey for?
We will be paddling for 3 weeks. And then the last week in Bella Bella there will be a large seven day celebration/ feast with all the Nations that have made the Journey.

What were some of the preparations you had to do in order to take part of the journey?
Lots of training, if I’m not on the water I’m on the land training doing cardio, and lifting weights. We even got new weights specifically for the training of this journey. We also are just getting all the things we need for camping and fundraising is what we had to do.

Another thing we did was singing practices for our canoe family because if we practice together and we are singing in front of all the other Nations, we would sound richer because our chemistry is strong from all the practicing we have done.

Which part of the canoe Journey are you looking forward too?
To be honest, with me it’s going to be all the singing we will be doing, it’s the sharing of the culture. The cultural aspect of the journey is what I’m looking forward too.

Why do you think participating in this event important?
For the Squamish Nation canoeing was our culture some people their whole culture is dancing or performing. Some people are all about singing you know every nation is different and for Squamish Nation canoeing is in our Nation.

These tribal journey’s will be in my mind, the base of Cultural Revitalization. You can read about culture and read about language, but actually learning by doing. Like going on this canoe journey will really help us out. A canoe journey isn’t just about pulling the canoe. We will be speaking our language on the canoe; we will be sharing songs, learning traditions, wearing our traditional regalia, and just all around learning about the west coast Nations cultures.
I’m looking forward to this journey.

Visit our blog next week for the story of our Xaays canoe, and it’s carver Ray Natroaro.

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