Traditional Coast Salish Canoe Racing

Published on January 2, 2014 by Amy

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Traditional Coast Salish Canoe Racing
Traditional Coast Salish Canoe Racing

The Coast Salish Racing Canoe heritage dates back well over a hundred years, and the Coast Salish traditional Canoeing legacy dates back thousands and thousands of years.

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Coast Salish competitive canoe racing first emerged in the mid to late 1800s, and by the 1940s the Coast Salish Racing Canoes had evolved into a very sophisticated, exceptionally well engineered, and extremely sleek craft bearing very little resemblance to any other traditional Native Indian fishing or traveling vessels.

Every summer, for well over a hundred years the shores of the Coast Salish Nations have staged a magnificent event, an event that tests the endurance, strength, skill, and heart of all of its participants.

On the shores of the Salish territories are lined with crowds of excited people cheering their favourite canoes, and on the water the well-conditioned athletes strive hard to out-distance their competition, and underneath the canoe racer is a very responsive, sleek, competition class Salish Racing Canoe.

Every year, on the warm summer breeze comes this living-canoeing legacy. These summer festivals are a culturally important time for the Coast Salish Nations. It’s a time to gather in friendly intertribal competition, and it’s a time to spend with family and friends. It provides an opportunity to renew old acquaintances and to make new ones, but most importantly, it is a time to honor and affirm the strength, culture, and heritage of the Coast Salish People.

Along the shores of these Coast Salish Canoe Races you can hear the sounds of the song that the paddle creates as it slices effortlessly through the water, combined, and intertwined with the strong spiritual heartbeat resonating from deep within the Cedar Canoes. It’s a long standing tradition of honor, culture, and respect for a very traditional way of life.

Source: joejack Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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