(KETCHIKAN, Alaska) Ketchikan Indian Community (KIC) is gearing up for a series of exciting summer events that revolve around canoes. The community is invited to join the festivities starting with a Canoe Awakening Celebration at Bar Harbor boat launch on Friday, July 2 at 1:00 p.m. KIC will also host the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Hōkūle’a crew in Ketchikan on their Moananuiākea Voyage (Voyage for the Earth) on or about July 5.
During the Canoe Awakening ceremony, KIC leaders will bless and name their new 36-foot canoe. The event will also honor the memory of Marvin Oliver, a talented canoe builder who passed away before he could see the awakening of the canoe he created.
Canoes have always been essential to the indigenous way of life, with local tribes using them to traverse the waterways of Southeast Alaska and western Canada for fishing, hunting, and gathering. KIC’s new canoe symbolizes a growing movement of indigenous canoeing that is reconnecting tribes with their culture and each other by taking canoe journeys along the coastal waterways of Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska.
As part of this movement, KIC may be chosen to host the 2027 Intertribal Canoe Journey, anticipating between 3,000 and 5,000 people in attendance.
KIC is also excited to welcome the crew of the Moananuiākea: Voyage for Earth, a 47-month, 43,000 nautical mile journey that aims to circumnavigate the Pacific by two traditional Polynesian voyaging canoes. The crew, which includes 400 members, will visit 36 countries, nearly 100 indigenous territories, and 345 ports.
During their three-day stay in Ketchikan, the Hōkūle’a crew hopes to engage with the community through a presentation at the Discovery Center on July 6, as they strive to develop young people who will help to achieve their primary purpose—igniting a movement of 10 million “planetary navigators”.
President Norm Skan expressed excitement about the upcoming events, stating that “canoes become a powerful vehicle to help us reconnect with the traditional way of life of our ancestors while inviting community members to join us in the continuation of our way of life.”