Notes from Paddle to Swinomish, Canoe Journey 2011; photo of beautiful art by an unknown artist, photo taken at the Paddle to Swinomish Canoe Journey 2011, author (L) with Holly Calica (R)
Theme: Loving, Caring and Sharing
26 July 2011
During a reunion at the Seattle FANHS’s 2010 conference (Filipino American National Historical Society), an invite came from a college-friend, Shelly Vendiola and her mom, Diane Vendiola, proud Indi-pinays (Swinomish-Bisayan), to participate/volunteer with the Protect Mother Earth Task Force as they celebrate and host for the first time in the annual Northwest coast tribal canoe journey. It was my first time attending this event and an honor to be part of it. Amazed by the community building I observed. In one canoe family, the youngest in the canoe was 3-years-old and elder included in another, the farthest traveler south were Chumash from Santa Barbara, as far as North Alaska, and folks from the East Coast (New York) and a two men from an Amazon tribe from Brazil representing, too. Awesome-filled experience. Protocol day 1 of 5 to start today. Hay’lacheska to the Vendiolas and the Swinomish people. I am deeply honored and blessed to have this opportunity. Daghang salamat po. Mabuhay! At the tail end of the California Natives, the Chumash protocol, I met Dr. Darryl Babe Wilson, whom i call Lolo Babe. Later, we gathered at a healing circle. It was an exciting and electric moment. Hay’dut’sila – a seed has been planted.
Day 5 of Paddle to Swinomish 2011
Right after the Swinomish took the floor for protocol, a dialogue ensued with Master Carver Philip H. Red Eagle, one of the co-founders of the canoe journey movement in the state of Washington. He asked: “Where is the Filipino canoe?” Instantly, my thoughts were: “Well, they are back home (referring to the homeland, the islands of the Republic of the Philippines).” But instead I replied, “We are working on it.”
I prayed. I dreamt of pintados and majestic giant crystalline horses in the waters of the San Francisco Bay. As I learned more about native spirituality and my own growth within, I am inspired to learn more about our seafaring traditions. Lolo Babe encourages Enunja Ti Taninmiji Hataji (Baby Girl with a Rainbow in her heart) to “learn about the dream that caused the canoe to appear, learn the song the canoe-maker sang, Build a big canoe from rainbows and teach it to all who will listen. spread the dream. “