City may provide funds for Canoe Journey


As the Puyallup Tribe prepares to host a major cultural event, the city of Tacoma wants to provide funds and services as well as special recognition. 

Since 1989, the native people of the Pacific Northwest have held an annual Canoe Journey. Each year a different tribe hosts the canoe pullers and support crews from around the region. Upon their arrival, the visiting canoe families go through a protocol of asking permission to come ashore. This is followed by a week of singing, dancing and the exchange of gifts. The Puyallup Tribe will host the event this year, with the theme “Power Paddle to Puyallup: Honoring Our Medicine.” On July 28, more than 125 canoes will land at 4224 Marine View Dr. Between 12,000 and 15,000 people are expected to attend.

The Council has a contingency fund from which it may disperse money on a discretionary basis. It has $500,000 for the 2017-18 budget cycle. A variety of events and projects have received funds ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. Mayor Victoria Woodards has proposed using $25,000 from this source to help the Tribe cover the costs of hosting Canoe Journey. The city would also provide in-kind services. The event aligns with one of the Council’s strategic priorities, to cultivate a vibrant cultural sector that fosters a creative, cohesive community.

To recognize this important event, the city would like to present a proclamation to the Tribe during the July 17 Council meeting. With the Tribe’s permission, the city would fly the Puyallup Nation flag at Tacoma Municipal Building for the duration of the event. The flag would then be displayed on a permanent basis in the Council Chambers, if the Tribe agrees to this.

Councilmember Anders Ibsen said this presents a “fantastic opportunity” to display the long relationship between the city and the Tribe, and to build better collaboration in the future.

The mayor said the flag would fly in the small plaza adjacent to city hall. She said it most likely would be unfurled on July 27. She looks forward to having tribal members participate. “It will be a great day for the city of Tacoma,” she said. 

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