Snuneymuxw First Nation territory will be the destination for people taking part in Tribal Journeys 2020.
The annual event, which sees indigenous people from B.C. and Washington state embarking on a journey in traditional canoes, recently concluded in Lummi Nation in Washington. Next year, the final stop is the Nanaimo area from July 27-Aug. 1.
“Each community will do what they call protocol,” said Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse. “So they’ll be at our long house up in Cedar; each community will have their slotted time where they’ll come in and celebrate their songs and share their journey with the rest of the tribes from up and down the coast, so it’s quite a big event.”
Chris Beaton, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre executive director, said the centre is “thrilled” the event will take place locally.
“Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre has participated in Tribal Journeys for the past four years and we know how important it is for our youth and our families and to see it for the first time in the 30-year history of Tribal Journeys coming to Nanaimo. We’re incredibly proud and want to do everything we can to support Snuneymuxw First Nation in hosting it next 2021,” Beaton said.
While nearby First Nations have hosted in the past, Wyse says 2020 will be the first where his nation hosts.
“It’s been in Cowichan a few years back, Campbell River … a couple of years ago, but it’s the first time for Snuneymuxw,” said Wyse. “We’ve hosted overnight when they’ve passed through, so there’s only maybe a dozen canoes, but next year we’ll have 100-plus canoes.”