Traditional canoe drums and songs will be heard and riders on horseback will be staged in downtown Portland on Sunday when tribal canoe families from the Grand Ronde, Warm Springs, and the Cowlitz tribes land at Portland’s Waterfront Park to open the 68th Annual National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Convention. Canoes are scheduled to arrive at 11:00 am on October 30 on the south side of the Hawthorne Bridge in the bowl area of Waterfront Park.
Grand Marshalls for the historic procession will include the Executive Board of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI), the host organization led by newly elected President Fawn Sharp of the Quinault Nation. ATNI is made up of 57 Tribes from the greater Northwest and is headquartered in Portland.
Following the canoe landing there will be a brief ceremony and comments from the Office of the Mayor. Tribal participants will then proceed through downtown Portland to the Oregon Convention Center where the week long convention will be held. The procession will take participants from the Hawthorne Bridge, North on Naito Way for 16-blocks over the Steel Bridge, ending at the Northeast side of the Oregon Convention Center. Public support and participation is encouraged, including joining in and following the tribal procession.
Once at the Oregon Convention Center, tribal drum groups will sing an honor song to open the NCAI conference followed by an address from Cheryle Kennedy, Chairwoman of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and Local Planning Committee. The procession activities are scheduled to end at 1:30 pm.
NCAI’s membership includes tribes from throughout the United States and is positioned to monitor federal policy and coordinated efforts of federal decisions that affect tribal government interests.
Nearly 30 years have passed since NCAI last held its annual conference here in Portland, Oregon. The theme of this year’s NCAI is “Footprints into the Future.” The NCAI will hold their conference at the Oregon Convention Center October 30 through November 4.