Island to Host Munu Canoe Cultural Demonstration and Fundraiser

From Truth to Reconciliation Gabriola

Tuesday, May 8 2018

Later this summer, paddlers from Snuneymuxw Territory will push their canoes out into the Pacific and turn south. Their three-week journey will see them share food, traditions and culture with communities and Nations all along the coast as they join 70 other canoe families paddling to Puyallup Territory in Washington State.

It’s called Tribal Journeys, an annual event that nurtures cultural revitalization as it connects the peoples of the Coastal First Nations. For the paddlers and the communities where they are welcomed, it’s a life-changing experience.

On Monday, May 21, all of us who live on the island now called Gabriola have an opportunity to celebrate, witness and support the paddlers representing Snuneymuxw Territory. That day, the Munu Canoe Family and the Awkwulmuxw Canoe will launch from the big island and turn west toward Gabriola Sands Provincial Park, or Twin Beaches. There will be a welcoming protocol when they arrive, the canoes will be carried onto the shore by the island’s Firefighters and other volunteers, and there will be a community meal.

Once onshore and nourished, Munu Canoe Family, led by Snuneymuxw Elder Gary Manson, will share a cultural demonstration. Elder Manson will talk about the importance of Tribal Journeys and its role in Indigenous resurgence, and the paddlers will perform traditional songs and dances. 

The event starts at 11am and all proceeds from food sales and a series of raffles will go directly to support the Tribal Journey paddlers. Burgers or veggie burgers, a salad and a beverage will cost $10 (please consider bringing plates and cups to cut down on waste).

The main raffle prize is a carved, decorative paddle, a collaborative effort between Munu Canoe and Gabriola’s Ron Crown of Made Kayaks, and there will also be innovative gift baskets -- camping gear, decolonized self-care, local pottery and more -- curated by members of the Gabriola community.

Parking will be limited to the Twin Beaches Mall, with no parking along Ricardo Road, so other forms of transportation -- carpooling, biking, kayaking -- are highly encouraged. A GERTIE shuttle bus will start running at 10:45 a.m. from the Agi Hall to the ferry and the canoe landing site, with return trips from 2:30pm. Monday May 21st will be a celebration of community, of family, and of long journeys that make us stronger together. To volunteer, please email gabriola.reconciliation@gmail.com