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Canoe Welcoming greets people arriving for Celebration
Published: 06/07/2012 12:45:00
Celebration is this week in Juneau and people have been arriving from all over Southeast to take part in this major cultural event. Most of them arrive by air or ferry, but some of them arrived, and were welcomed, in age old and deeply traditional ways, and well over a thousand people gathered along the beach at the Auke Bay Recreation Area to honor their arrival.

We asked Paul Marks of the Goldbelt Heritage Foundation about the event.
"What we're having here this afternoon is a canoe welcoming; we have seven canoes that are coming in from the villages; from Angoon, from Kake, from Wrangell, from Ketchikan and Hydaburg and we're welcoming them in a traditional way; how our people would welcome them years ago, so we're basically trying to imitate our ancestral ways."

Leilani Knight-McQueen of the One People Canoe Society elaborated on how it works. "The greeting of the canoes, we've tried to keep as traditional as possible; We can't not recognize the clan system, the societal system of the Tlingit and Haida people and so we tried to bring that to fruition today by having the Auke Kwaan people welcome us on land and all of the people of the land of this area welcome us traditionally and so when the canoes come from the furthest distance, those were the first ones that you saw coming through, and then they would welcome and they would shout out 'Who are you, what is your business here?' and then we would holler from the canoe 'We've come to celebrate with you for Celebration.' And they would reply 'Welcome, Come Ashore."

By: Rik Pruett -