Salish Sea Canoe Journey Underway

Over 100 family canoes are set to land at the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community on July 25th as participants in the annual Tribal Canoe Journey. The journey is hosted by different communities around the Salish Sea, which stretches from the Puget Sound past Canada's Vancouver Island. Some teams have been paddling since June and their efforts will culminate in a weeklong potlatch. The voyage, inaugurated in 1989, has revitalized intertribal hospitality and allowed for dialogue about common concerns. Canoe journeys of this kind were the principle means of trade and cultural exchange which characterized the rich and water dependent Coast Salish economy. Although primarily a regional event, canoes from as far away as Hawaii and New Zealand are partcipating.

More information on this year's journey is available from the Swinomish here. Each host operates a different web portal for the Journey (next year's host will be Squaxin Island), but a third party blog hosts general information about the events.

Can Theft Of Native Culture Occur - On Ice-Skating Costumes?

(Nick Verreos)

Russian figure-skaters Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin are among the favorites to win gold at next month's Winter Olympics in Vancouver. However, the costumes and skating routine they have chosen have provoked less-favorable reviews from Aboriginal scholars and activists. The theme for their ice-dancing routine is intended as a tribute to Aboriginal peoples, with the skaters wearing suits with Native-inspired designs and their music featuring samples of Aboriginal instruments.

Despite good intentions, the pair have been criticized for co-opting cultural traditions without due respect or understanding. Bev Manton, chairwoman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, declared the skaters had misappropriated "a foreign culture, and used [it] inappropriately." "We see it as stealing Aboriginal culture," said Sol Bellear, a member of the Aboriginal Land Council.