Olympia, WA. Members of the Grand Ronde Tribe have started their annual Canoe Journey and this year it’s called “Power Paddle To Puyallup.” The event is a Native American traditional canoe gathering with singing and dancing that takes place along the west coast of Oregon, Washington & Canada. 108 tribes are registered to participate.

The paddler’s journey began July 19th when they started practicing in the canoe.

The first stop for the Canoe Family is in St. Helens, where they will be joined by two Māori representatives from the Tauranga district in New Zealand, Tamahau Tangitu and Te Kerekau Nicholas. The Canoe Journey exchange with Grand Ronde has been ongoing since 2009.

The group will practice paddling in the Columbia River for three days to become adept at navigating before they begin the miles of paddling starting from Samish, Wash., and ending in Puyallup, Wash.

Stops are scheduled to occur at Swinomish, Tulalip, Suquamish and Muckleshoot.

This year’s Canoe Journey is hosted by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and has the theme, “Honoring Our Medicine.”

Landing day will be Saturday, July 28 in Tacoma, Wash. Protocol began Sunday, July 29 in Puyallup and run through Saturday, Aug. 4. The order of protocol is the Tribe which travels the furthest to attend goes first.

Canoe Journey was designed as a family-friendly event to familiarize northwest Tribes with the trade routes used by their ancestors and to promote a healthy lifestyle free of substance abuse.

The Tribe’s vision is to be a Tribal community known as a caring people, dedicated to the principles of honesty and integrity, building community, individual responsibility and self-sufficiency through personal empowerment, and responsible stewardship of human and natural resources; a community willing to act with courage in preserving Tribal cultures and traditions for all future generations.