Munu Canoe makes landing at Xwcumi:lucun as prelude to 2018 Tribal Journeys

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, May 29 2018

On May 21, Gabriolans packed the Taylor Bay side of Twin Beaches, as the Munu Canoe arrived from Vancouver Island, with paddlers representing Snuneymuxw Territory.

This was a prelude trip to the paddlers taking part in Tribal Journeys this summer, when the paddlers will join 70 other canoe families on a three-week journey to Puyallup Territory in Washington State. The three-week journey will see them share food, traditions and culture with communities and Nations all along the coast.

The May 21 event was organized by From Truth To Reconciliation Gabriola (FTTR) in partnership with the First Nations.

Snuneymuxw Elder Gary Xulsi’malt Manson had suggested Twin Beaches as the best location for a performance space and bringing the canoe to shore. 

Twin Beaches is known by Snuneymuxw in Hul’qumi’num as Xwcumi:lucun (pronounced wh-tsu-mii-let-sen). The name means “close together,” as the site was a fishing camp from early spring to late August where Snuneymuxw people caught spring and coho salmon. 

The canoe that was here was Munu and was skippered by Elder Manson. Elder Manson has been an experienced skipper for 10 Tribal Journeys. 

He is also an Elder-in- Residence at VIU and a language and culture mentor. 

All of the paddlers who arrived on Gabriola (with others) will be paddling to Puyallup this summer. Paddlers are comprised of Snuneymuxw members as well as other Nations in BC, Yukon and Northwest Territories. Many of the paddlers are also part of a VIU program called Su’luqw’a Community Cousins. 

Typically, when a canoe arrives, people receiving them help bring the canoe to shore. The Gabriola organizing committee wanted to ensure there were people there to help lift the canoe, and volunteers from the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department agreed to provide those persons.

The canoe first appeared to those at Taylor Bay as it rounded Newcastle Island and began the crossing to Gabriola.

As the canoe approached shore, the voices of the paddlers could be heard singing.

April Vannini, one of the members of the FTTR organizing committee, was able to watch as her son Jacob Manson (grandson of Elder Manson) paddled into shore in the canoe.

“My son will be participating in his second Tribal Journey. 

“Our family was very proud to see him arrive to shore with family members and friends. There was a moment where I saw the canoe glide in and I could hear my son’s strong voice and I thought that is my boy, loud and proud.”

Once the canoe had been brought to shore, the Munu Canoe family, led by Elder Manson, shared a cultural demonstration with Gabriolans. Manson spoke about the Tribal Journeys, and thanked those who had come to take part in the day’s events. The paddlers performed traditional songs and dances.

A community meal was held, with all proceeds from the food sales, as well as raffles and donations, going to support the Tribal Journeys paddlers.

A total of $4336.00 was raised.

Vannini said, “A huge thank you to everyone who came out to support Munu and be a part of this event. 

“FTTR Committee has never done an event like this before and we are so pleased with the support received and the number of people who attended.”

Many people helped make this day a special day. 

FTTR Committee had the help of over 60 volunteers who helped in so many ways to make this event run smoothly (making salads, grilling burgers, serving food, selling raffle tickets, setting up and cleaning up the event, sound, equipment pick up, transportation and parking, etc. ).

As Vannini said, “It truly was a community effort.”

FTTR would like to thank the following organizations, businesses and individuals who sponsored and donated to make this event happen:

Business & Organization Sponsors & Donors: Gabriola Museum & Heritage Society | Gabriola Arts Council | Gabriola Commons | Gabriola Lions Club | BC Ferries | GERTIE | Village Food Market | Robert’s Place Restaurant | New Society Publishers | Panacea | People for a Healthy Community | Village Liquor Store | Island Meat & Deli | Twin Beaches Mall | Royal LePage | Mad Rona’s | La Vie Belle | Paprika Gallery | Island Home and Garden | Woodfire | The Haven | Nature Spirit Earth Market | Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department.

Individual Sponsors & Donors: Marylyn Beaubien | Lynn Bowerman | Cassandra Blondin-Burt | Tom Cameron | Ron Crown | D’Dance Glass | Tony Grove | Howard Houle | The Lynch Group | Rosanne Konrad | Anne Landry | Ruth McCollum | Maya Ruggles | Graham Sheehan | April Vannini | Davy Bouvier.

Thank you from the FTTR Committee: Gloria Filax, Tom Cameron, April Vannini, Maya Ruggles, Mary Ann Richards, Michelle Benjamin, Cassandra Blondin-Burt, Scott Colbourne, Howard Houle, Mary Holdgrafer, Carroll Hodge, Maggie Mooney, Lynda Archer, Heather O’Sullivan, Geraldine Manson, Brenda Gaertner.