Barb's canoe photo

photo by Barb Patton

In 1989 the first reunion of canoe tribes of the Northwest was held in Seattle with about 10 canoes participating.  Gatherings have been held each year since, with various tribes hosting.  The numbers of tribes represented has increased and now they come from California, Alaska, Hawaii, and New Zealand, and a large number from Canada.  This year the gathering was hosted by the Quileute Tribe.  Over 100 canoes participated, and 15,000 people were expected to attend.

Seneca and Raven have been meeting twice a month with the local Elwha Tribe to prepare to perform  traditional songs and dances which are accompanied by drumming.

Adding detail to regalia

Updating Seneca’s Regalia

Our first actual contact for this year’s event took place here in Port Angeles when canoes from Puget Sound and Vancouver Island landed to rest for two days on their journey to Quinault.  We were on the beach as the canoes arrived and each was welcomed with a song and the ceremony requesting permission to land took place.

canoes arrive

Canoes arrive in Port Angeles

Raven helps lift canoe

Raven helped carry the canoes ashore

Seneca with dugout type

Seneca likes this small one

Waiting for the next canoe

Waiting for the next canoe

It took many hours for all of the canoes to arrive and for paddlers to be transported to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s reservation for dinner and to camp for two nights.

Our family volunteered to help with dinner.  We served about 1500 meals that night.


Ripley family volunteers!

food line up

Dinner line

It will take several more days for the canoes to travel to Quinault, which is on the coast south of Forks.  On the way they will stop at the reservations of the Makah, Quileute and Hoh Nations.

We plan to meet them in Quinault, where 15,000 people are expected to gather.