Tag Archives: Suquamish

‘Tribal Journeys’ changes lives in various ways

Many things have been written through the years about Tribal Journeys, an annual event that rekindles a feeling of humanity among tribal members and between tribes. The event stirs an awareness of cultural and spiritual connections for those who participate.

Erica Hankin prepares to board a canoe in a welcoming ceremony at Point Julia. / Kitsap Sun photo by Meegan M. Reid

Tribal Journeys includes many personal stories. In an article in today’s Kitsap Sun, reporter Tad Sooter helps us understand the profound effect the journey has had one individual.

Tad’s story is about Erica Hankin, a 28-year-old member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe who had been in and out of drug court trying to find a new direction for her life.

Barbara Jones, prevention coordinator for her tribe, was quoted as saying:

“You can’t take something away without taking something back. What I’ve seen with the canoe journey is that void is filled, and they’re finding themselves.”

Tad’s story, which describes Erica’s personal struggle, helps us understand how Tribal Journeys can make a real difference to a degree I have never read before.

Other stories about Canoe Journeys I’ve found revealing, along with slide shows and a descriptive video, below right, that was produced during the journey to Suquamish in 2009.

July 21, 2012: “Paddling on a journey of healing.”

July 20, 2012: “Seafood bash awaits tribal canoeists at first stop,” accompanied by slide show.

April 25, 2011: “After 10 years of waiting, Suquamish family gets its own cedar canoe.”

July 13, 2010: “S’Klallams Play Host as Paddlers Take a Break from Their Journey,” accompanied by slide show.

Aug. 3, 2009: “Suquamish Welcome Thousands Ashore After a Long Journey,” accompanied by slide show.

For more background on Tribal Journeys, recounting history and providing information for people inside and outside the event, visit the Tribal Journeys Blog.

Dosewallips and boardwalk: Wants or needs?

It’s far easier being a reporter than a policy-maker.

As reporters, we are trained to gather information from all sides, get to the heart of the issue and represent the arguments in their best possible light.

Decision-makers ought to go through the same process of due consideration, then come to a conclusion. Reporters have the luxury — if that’s what it’s called — of avoiding that last step. If we have an opinion, it’s best to keep it to ourselves, even though one side’s arguments may sometimes be much stronger than another.

This balancing of arguments becomes more difficult when we’re talking about “wants” versus “needs,” or what is perceived as such.

For example, I personally would like see a road going up to Dosewallips Campground. I remember camping trips there and hikes into the upper watershed. It was easier to drive to the campground than starting five miles down the road, as we do now. An unbroken road would be a nice thing to have.

But when I examine the environmental impact statement and listen to biologists and road engineers, I can’t help but wonder if this road is something we need to have. It’s like considering whether to buy an expensive car or house — or a bike or stereo as a kid. You wonder if you can really afford it. Maybe you can; maybe you can’t. In the case of the Dosewallips road, the cost would be environmental degradation to an ecosystem already overtaxed. Maybe it’s worth it; maybe it’s not.

See my story in today’s Kitsap Sun about opposition from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.

Is this item important enough to pay the cost? It’s a question that must be answered. How quickly you can answer it probably says something about your values. Those of us with mixed values tend to vacillate, and I guess that’s OK for me to do as a reporter, as long as I recognize the arguments on both sides.

This same kind of discussion relates to the extension of the Bremerton boardwalk. It would be a beautiful walkway out over the water from downtown Bremerton to Evergreen Park. Is it worth the cost environmentally? For some people, this is an open-and-shut case on one side or the other. Others might need more information, which you can expect the Kitsap Sun to provide.

See recent stories on the boardwalk issue by Kitsap Sun reporter Steve Gardner — today and July 16. On July 18, Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman clarified the tribe’s position on the boardwalk.

Something should be said here about Native American tribes and their involvement in environmental issues. Tribes are not opposed to everything, as some people seem to believe. But they do have a moderating influence on decisions affecting the environment. In a way, they’re like the banker who says you can’t afford the house you really want or the parent who suggests a less-fancy bike.

Tribes are not perfect stewards of the environment. Their positions are sometimes contradictory. But they are focused on the environment, and we should consider their comments — either because of their treaty rights or because they often make sense.