Suquamish Hosts Traveling Canoes

Canoes landing in Suquamish in 2009

Canoe season is well underway and here on the Port Madison Indian Reservation we will soon be welcoming our relatives to our shores for the Suquamish hosting of this year’s Tribal Journey, Power Paddle to Puyallup.

We expect our hosting to be rather large this year, with dozens of canoe families arriving on July 25, 2018 for an overnight stop on their way to Puyallup. When they arrive, we will welcome their canoes from the water and invite them to share songs, dances and meals with us at the House of Awakened Culture before we join them on the way to Puyallup the next morning.

Many of our neighbors and community members are familiar with Tribal Journeys. In Suquamish, we have been a part of the cultural resurgence since the 1989 Washington Centennial Paddle to Seattle. It is a deeply cultural event that provides us an opportunity to practice our traditional ways with one another, reaffirm our heritage and teach our youth.

We appreciate our friends who have volunteered throughout the years to assist us in making our relations feel welcome. For new neighbors and community members just learning about Tribal Journeys, we would like to share a few details about the event that will help ensure we provide the best possible hosting for our relatives and guests again this year.

Our relatives will arrive by water, landing in canoes near the Charles Lawrence Memorial Boat Ramp in downtown Suquamish between noon and 4 p.m. on July 25, 2018. The exact time of their arrival will depend on the weather, and tides. This year, we expect to welcome 65-75 canoes along with their support teams and ground crews. Community members and neighbors often watch the ceremonial welcoming from along with waterfront. If you plan to attend, we ask that you be respectful of the ceremonial welcoming area on the beach. Feel free to take and post photos on social media, record and stream live. However, we ask that you do so from the bluff above the beach or the dock, not from the beach where the ceremony is taking place.

As part of our hosting, we provide a large outdoor meal for our guests, and those in our community who are participating in Tribal Journeys. As our traditions teach us, we serve our elders, those pulling in the canoes and our guests traveling for the journey first – then, we serve our tribal community and volunteers working the event.

After our meal, canoe families will gather at the House of Awakened Culture to share songs and dances. Each canoe family is given the opportunity to share. With dozens of canoe families expected this year, the festivities may last well into the evening hours. Many of our relations and guests watch the event from inside the House of Awakened Culture. If you plan to attend and find yourself inside the house during protocol, please make sure to stay off the protocol floor (where dances and songs are shared). Additionally, listen to see if a song or dance should not be recorded. Canoe families usually make an announcement beforehand.

We expect around 5,000 campers the evening of July 25, 2018. Most visiting canoe families will camp for the night in areas we designate for Tribal Journeys camping including the green space across the street from the Tribal Center on Suquamish Way, the Football Field near the Suquamish Fitness Center and several individual camping sites throughout Suquamish. Signs are clearly posted at all camping areas. All camping areas will be cleared by the evening of July 26, 2018 when the canoe families move on to Muckleshoot, the next stop on the journey to Puyallup.

For a schedule of events in Suquamish, click here.

For more information on the journey this year to Puyallup, visit

For more information on Tribal Journeys, visit: