Culture Department holds Canoe Awakening

Canoe Awakening collage

By Hailey Palmer, Puyallup Tribal News

Members of the Tribal community gathered in the Admin building parking lot on April 5 to celebrate this year’s Canoe Awakening.

Cultural Center Assistant Director Clinton McCloud led the ceremony, calling witnesses and taking part in drumming and singing, while dancers brushed cedar across two canoes, getting them ready for the water this spring and summer.

Traditionally, the Tribe’s canoes were never put away as they were the primary method of transportation, but today, they’re stored for the winter.

“Our spiritual Elders always talked about our canoes having their own spirit and that they’re alive,” McCloud said. “We have the song and dance that says we’re brushing anything off that may have been collected on this canoe while it wasn’t being used. We’re just brushing off anything that doesn’t need to be there, and with the songs and dances we’re putting in our goodness with prayers, love and protection for the travels of the people that are using the canoe.”