The biennial cultural event begins today (Thursday). It brings together Southeast Alaska Natives from all over the state, the Lower 48 and Canada to share their art, dance and stories. This year the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) joined with the One People Canoe Society and other canoe teams to paddle to Celebration. The teams also used the stops along the way to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
The first teams left Kake on Saturday for Angoon, where another canoe team joined them. On Monday, a team from Hoonah joined in Funter Bay. They camped along the way, spending Tuesday night at Portland Island for the short paddle yesterday to Juneau’s Auke Recreation Area.
About 90 people made the trip and came from Angoon, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Juneau, Kake, Sitka, and Wrangell. They ranged in age from 10 to 70, and all seemed to relish the traditional mode of travel.
Rosemarie Alexander was at Auke Rec when the canoes paddled to shore, and spoke to observers & paddlers about the significance of the journey.
- Juneau Finance Director Bob Bartholomew projected Gov. Bill Walker’s veto of about half of dividend funds will cost the city.
- Only three votes now separate two northern Alaska House candidates. Dean Westlake of Kotzebue has 780 votes, ahead of 777 votes for incumbent Rep. Ben Nageak, who’s from Barrow.
- Bus passes, child-care assistance, work clothing and other resources to get low-income tribal members into jobs are being cut in seven Southeast Communities..
- The U.S. Northern Command and Coast Guard have launched a major field-training exercise off Alaska’s northwest coast. Arctic Chinook is intended to demonstrate how local, state and federal agencies would respond to a simulated cruise ship accident. Coincidentally, a big luxury cruise ship will sail through the area while the exercise is under way. And to further complicate things, bad weather has just set in.