July 31: Jamestown Landing
crew met at Jamestown Beach just before 9 a.m., and activity was
already aflutter there. Both canoes had been brought down to
Jamestown Road; a covered seating area was being erected by the
Maintenance Crew, and the Fry Bread crew was getting started.
Ground crew arrived with lunch and water, and picked up the
pullers’ gear for the journey (we are leaving so early tomorrow
that it just made more sense to pack the gear today).
It was very
foggy and the tide was low, but Marlin knew that the pullers had
left Hollywood Beach early, and would be nearing Dungeness Spit
before noon, so he wanted to get the Laxaynəm on the water as
soon as possible. We had a quick smudging ceremony, a prayer and
a blessing from Elaine Grinnell, and then set about getting the
canoe off the trailer.
Laxaynəm off the trailer
the canoe into the water
At low tide,
the beach was mucky, and in order to get the canoe on the water,
everyone had to get into the muck at least up to their ankles.
Just one photo before you leave! “But we’re sinking into the
mud!,” they were saying as I shot this photo.
They got on
the water just before 10. It took about 45 minutes to get to
the Spit, and by the time they got there, the canoes from
Hollywood Beach were already there. They had stopped for lunch,
and were just about ready to take off to Jamestown.
Marlin and the
crew landed and got a tour of the Dungeness Lighthouse.
The Laxaynəm in the foreground, with the
Dungeness Lighthouse in the background
back at Jamestown, by 11:20, we could see the first 2 canoes
coming in. Considering that we had told folks to expect a 2 p.m.
landing, it was great that Elaine Grinnell was already there.
She welcomed the first 5 canoes to Jamestown, and the youth and
children sang, drummed, and offered cedar roses to each puller.
Looking west, we could see at least 10 more canoes approaching,
just as Chairman Ron Allen arrived. From that point on, canoes
just kept coming, until they had welcomed 30 canoes ashore! The
beach was abuzz with activity.
Three canoes from Canada
Elaine and kids
Elaine, Ron and
Kathy Duncan welcoming canoes.
had planned for a 1 p.m. Blessing of the E’ow-itza prior to any
canoes landing, the blessing waited while the canoes landed.
Then, emcee Pat Jons invited all of the canoe families to see
the blessing, so they gathered around the new cedar strip and
fiberglass canoe, and Elaine Grinnell began the ceremony. She
invited four people from other Tribes to stand as witnesses.
Elaine and the four witnesses
sang a song, and then Elaine spoke of the importance of the
canoe safely carrying pullers for generations to come. She
handed out cedar fronds, and instructed the pullers to brush
away any bad feelings from the canoe. We circled the canoe
several times, brushing it with cedar. Then, the Elder witness
placed the cedar bough on the canoe’s bow, and it was officially
named the E’ow-itza – the Little Sister of the Laxaynəm. A
visitor from Canada then asked Elaine if she could sing the
Woman Warrior song, which is traditionally sung at naming
Placing the Wreath
blessing ended, the E’ow-itza crew, with help from several
strong men from other Tribes, carried her off the trailer and
placed her near the water for her maiden voyage as a named
canoe. The crew boarded her, and paddled out to meet the
Laxaynəm, which was now in sight.
had waited until they were certain that there were no more
canoes coming from the west. Then they sailed back to Jamestown.
Sherry in her new Cedar hat
made by Lummi weaver Fran James.
Sitting on a Log: Here they are sitting on a log at Dungeness
Spit. They had a lovely few hours there.
The two canoes
met. The E’ow-itza turned back, and the two crews did “power
pulls” in a race to shore. But Sherry apparently asked whether
the Laxaynəm crew could do a 100-stroke power pull, while the
E’ow-itza did its standard 25-stroke power surge. It was all
done for fun, anyway, because the E’ow-itza had to stop short of
the shore to allow Audrey to do her required cold water
practice, which she had missed in June. While she jumped into
the water and got pulled back out, the Laxaynəm headed for
ask for permission to come ashore, but he did thank the Tribe
for its support of the journey, and expressed an emotional
reminder that this year’s journey is in memory of his younger
brother Pete, who died in February. We are all very much aware
of that fact, and all who knew him feel that Pete is with us on
this journey. Josh is wearing Pete’s canoe ring necklace along
with his own, and each of us dons a black armband and a badge
with Pete’s photo on it.
We all came
ashore, unpacked the canoes, and after a bit of chatting, got
cleaned up for dinner. The dinner at Sequim High School was
bigger than ever, and as always, the sounds of drumming and
chanting reverberated through the cafeteria and beyond. Everyone
seemed to be in good spirits, and Barb Holden handed out red
bandanas with the Jamestown S’Klallam name on them.
We will all
meet at the beach tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. while the tide is
still high enough to put into the water without getting sucked
into the muck. If today is any indication, we may arrive at Port
Townsend significantly earlier than 2 p.m.