Community organizations on San Juan Island have developed a pilot project with Lummi Nation member and Master Canoe builder to craft Coast Salish style cedar strip canoes in the San Juan Islands with local students.
Canoe building is open for construction in the STEM Building at the Friday Harbor High School. A public, Coast Salish Canoe building kick-off event will be held at 6 p.m., April 21. Students will start the canoe building process on Saturday, April 22-28 and share their final projects on Friday, April 28 from 4-5:30 p.m.
Students will work with a master builder and complete two, six-seat, 21-feet canoes and paddles while learning canoe history on the islands. In the summer, Island Rec will feature a new Voyager canoe program which participants will paddle throughout the islands while teaching navigational skills and paddle technique.
The purpose of this pilot program is to introduce island youth to Native American culture through hands-on canoe building with one of the world’s top canoe builders from Lummi Nation. The San Juan Islands are at the center of the Salish Sea’s complex web of life and cultural diversity. Over 50 U.S. and Canadian indigenous nations call the Salish Sea home. There are 29 federally recognized Tribes in Washington State. They have treaty rights and responsibilities in their historical territories in the United States with their own governments, jurisdictions and economies. Eight U.S. Tribes claim the San Juan Islands as historical territory: Lummi, Swinomish, Suquamish, Tulalip, Samish and three S’Klallam tribes.
This project is a community partnership with Spring Street International School, San Juan Island School District, Friends of the San Juans. To make a donation to this project, please call Friends of the San Juans at 378-2319. All gifts are tax deductible. A reception and first paddle party will be held for all donors this spring. Make checks out to Friends of the San Juans: PO Box 1344 Friday Harbor, WA 98250.