Haidas paddle to Juneau

A canoe bearing Haida crew was counted among the 10 canoes and roughly 100 paddlers to land on the shores of Douglas Harbour. Their arrival signaled the beginning of Celebration, a four-day festival from June 8 to 11.

The journey to Douglas Harbour started with three days of preparation in Ketchikan, which included the painting of paddles. Once ready, seven paddlers set out together from Kake on June 1, they included Xay Kuyaas (Ariane Medley), SaanuGa (Gianna Flanery), Tim Flanery, Anthonny Chuulik, Cedric James, Eaonhawinon (Patricia Allen), and Skyler Copsey.

Skipper Tim Pine escorted the paddlers aboard The Raven, their support ship. The company pushed through rough seas and rain until they met up with the greater part of the armada at Angoon. There they stayed an extra night there to wait out the weather and while there were treated very well by the community. Setting out again, camping, visiting, cooking aboard The Raven and singing late into the night didn’t leave much room for sleep as the crew paddled as long as they could each day. When the armada finally arrived for the grand entrance on June 8 the crew was boldly waving the Haida flag.

“We were so happy that we made it safe and hundreds of people came down to the shore to greet us,” said Xay Kuyaas “We all exchanged speeches from our canoes; then landed in the traditional way. We didn’t really get a rest, though. Right after that we were getting ready for a whole week of dancing and singing!”

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