Native canoe journey stops in Blaine this weekend

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By Steve Guntli

Be part of a unique cultural event happening for the first time in Blaine this weekend.

The G’ana’k’w Canoe Family is using Marine Park as the terminus for its annual canoe journey. The journey has been held for more than a century, but until now Blaine has only been a brief stopover, not the final destination.

Dozens of people from the Canoe Family, the Lummi Nation and the Semiahmoo Nation will travel for five days and more than 60 miles up the coast between Camano Island and Blaine. Travelers will make overnight stops at the Swinomish Nation near La Conner, the Lummi Nation and Sucia Marine State Park along the way.

Blaine residents Ron Snyder and Cathy Taggett are members of the G’ana’k’w Canoe Family, and will be rowing along with the group for part of the journey. The pair has been driving support for the journey for months, visiting local libraries to speak about the trip and raise awareness.

The public is invited to attending the landing ceremony at approximately 1 p.m. on Friday, July 24. On July 25, the group will hold a potlatch in Marine Park at 6 p.m. The potlatch will feature presentations of traditional Tlingit and Haida dances from native performers, speakers, gift giving and songs. The potlatch is open to the public.

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