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Tribal canoe journey to skip stop-over in the San Juans
The Inter-Tribal Canoe Journey's two-day stopover in the San Juans has been canceled by organizers of the 2013 cultural event.
According to Stephanie Buffum, executive director of Friends of the San Juans, the decision was made over the weekend by canoe skippers largely because of safety and funding concerns.
In previous years, Friends has been the lead organizer in putting together receptions and community potlucks when the annual tribal canoe journey, now in its 22nd year, stops in the islands.
The Inter-Tribal Canoe Journey was established in the late 1980s as a cultural rejuvenation and revival of tradition for the Coast Salish peoples.
Canoe paddlers were slated to cross Rosario and Haro straits, as well as the Strait of Juan de Fuca, in order to spend the night of July 18 at Lopez Island's Odlin Park, and following night at English Camp on San Juan Island. The route ultimately leads to the journey's final destination, the Quinault Tribal Reservation, located on the northern coast of Washington.
Along the journey, canoes and paddlers are accompanied by support teams and large support vehicles, which would have required multiple trips onboard a ferry in escorting the group to the San Juans.
The contingent of tribal canoes, some originating as far away as British Columbia's Bella Bella to the north and the Nisqually reservation at the south end of Puget Sound, are expected to arrive at the Quinault reservation Aug. 1.
Buffum said supporters of the canoe journey can attend celebrations at Samish Indian Nation, Wednesday, July 16, at the RV Park in Anacortes, and at the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, July 17, in LaConner.