Tribal Journey, Part 2: Nala Winds • SAMAQAN: Water Stories (Series 3)

Tribal Journey, Part 2: Nala Winds • SAMAQAN: Water Stories (Series 3)

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What began with the Heiltsuk First Nation’s building of a canoe–the first in        over 150 years–and paddling it to Vancouver for EXPO ’86 has become a movement reviving the ocean-going canoe tradition on the West Coast. In 1993, the Heiltsuk’s Qatuwas Festival journey saw 14 canoes paddle to Bella Bella. Enthusiasm has grown and now there are annual tribal journeys in the the Pacific Northwest. In the spirit of “qatuwas” which means “people gathering together,” these tribal journeys bring together people of all ages and reconnect them on the water with the traditional ways of their ancestors. The journeys can take several weeks and build fortitude, stamina, identity and self-esteem for participants.

Nala Winds is the canoe family from the Heiltsuk First Nation of Bella Bella. Organizers Frank and Kathy Brown meet in the Cowichan gymnasium to launch their journey out of Cowichan Bay. Frank explains that the protocol of always asking for permission to come ashore after a day of paddling is an acknowledgement of title of land and of the people whose waters they are passing through. The word "nala" means weather in the Heiltsuk language, something essential to respect on these journeys. It also is an acronym for "navigating all life's adventures," and these journeys build skills for that.

Kathy Brown covers the logistics of a ground crew that follows the route of the paddlers, managing access to food and shelter. A tribal journey belongs to everyone who participates, bringing together people of all ages through a common heritage of the ocean-going canoe.

Titles included in this series:

Without Running Water, Part 1 (22 minutes)
Without Running Water, Part 2 (22 minutes)
Kitigan Zibi Waters (22 minutes)
Kahnawake Waters, Part 1 (22 minutes)
Kahnawake Waters, Part 2 (22 minutes)
Tribal Journey, Part 1: Paddle to Sqaxin (22 minutes)
Tribal Journey, Part 3: Kwumut Lelum (22 minutes)
Tribal Journey, Part 4: Maori Waka, Dugout Canoe and Birch Bark (22 minutes)
Tribal Journey, Part 5: The Village Welcome (22 minutes)
Tribal Journey, Part 6: Landings and Protocol (22 minutes)
Every Year the Salmon Come Back (22 minutes)
Drinking from my Mother's Well (22 minutes)

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