For thousands of years the traditional ocean-going canoe was the main means of transportation along the Pacific Northwest Coast. It was essential for sustenance, transport, and for developing our unique social and ceremonial life. Amongst our Heiltsuk Nation and other Indigenous Peoples, the last 150 years have seen massive societal changes that have had devastating and detrimental impacts on our people. During this time of suppression and technology change, the ocean-going canoe, our Glwa, was almost lost.
The ocean-going canoe has seen a remarkable resurgence over the last three decades through yearly recurring coast-wide canoe journeys. Today these Tribal Journeys have become an important teacher and cornerstone for revitalization of our cultural practices and language along with ancestral teachings and laws that empower and support our self-determination.
Embark on this journey into the history and culture of the Heiltsuk maritime Indigenous People who have lived within our territory for over 14,000 years.
Pulling a canoe on the ocean for several weeks at a time helps to reconnect our youth deeply with the land, sea and culture. It allows them to experience the healing power of nature that supports their transformative spiritual, cultural, emotional and social well-being.
Witness the ancestral teachings of the Tribal Canoe Journeys and the many life-changing experiences that youth have gained along the Pacific Northwest Coast through the transformative power of the canoe.
Today, the coast-wide Tribal Canoe Journeys catalyze the revitalization of our maritime Indigenous culture, the healing of our communities, and the empowering of our youth. Participants grow with each challenge that they master, gain a strong sense of themselves, our history, and our culture. Teachings by our Elders affirm the role and responsibilities of our young people in society. They benefit through improved self-esteem and confidence that helps them navigating the sacred journey of their lives.