Every year since 2009, Kw’umut Lelum has participated in Tribal Journey. This Pacific coastal canoe journey, with participants from hundreds of Nations, has offered a chance for our youth in care to connect with each other and with their culture. It is a welcome chance to build a stronger sense of self, to heal, to learn, and to have fun.
With the global pandemic cancelling the event for a second year in a row, Kw’umut Lelum took up the reins to offer a condensed version of the journey for our youth participating in the Canoe Life program.
Over the past few months, the Canoe Life youth have been learning to paddle, practicing their protocol, and learning the snuw'uyulh related to the canoe, our connection to water and land, and to the cedar that sustains us.
Embarking on their week-long paddle on July 19th, the Canoe Family will be visiting 7 of the 9 KL Member Nations, paddling up the Salish Sea from Malahat to Qualicum. Along the way, they will land at each territory – a single canoe instead of the hundreds usually seen at Tribal Journeys past - requesting permission to come ashore as their ancestors have done for millennia.
“For many of our youth, this journey represents a homecoming – they are being welcomed home by their communities at each stop along the way,” says Cecelia Harris, Team Lead for KL’s Four Seasons of Culture program. “We want to enrich and strengthen their connections to home, and we recognize this can be both emotional and impacting for them.”
While the youth will not be performing their protocol alongside a multitude of other canoe families this year, there will still be plenty of opportunities for community members to come out and support our youth and join together as a Coast Salish family. Small gatherings are being planned in many of our member Nations (see event listings below) and we hope you will come out, share a meal, or share a song with us.
Canoe Journey Community Schedule:
July 18th | 4:00-9:00pm
Malahat Community BBQ and Jam Session at the Gym
July 19th | 5:00-7:00pm
Penelakut Community BBQ, Jam Session, and War Canoe Paddling at the Penelakut spit
July 20th | 6:00-9:00pm
Stz'uminus Community Fun in the Sun at Stz'uminus Gym - games, arts, crafts and jam session. War Canoe pulling 6:00-7:00pm at Kulleet Bay (light refreshments provided)
July 21st | 7:00-9:00pm
Snuneymuxw Community Jam session at the Snuneymuxw Gym (light refreshments provided)
July 23rd | 5:00-7:00pm
All Nations Community BBQ and Jam Session at the Qualicum Campground