Qatuwas 2014: Tribal Journeys Converge upon Bella Bella, BC

Logo: Qatuwas 2014 Canoe Journey and inaugural Indigenous Economic Opportunities Summit

The United States Consulate General Vancouver was pleased to send a representative to attend the Qatuwas 2014 Canoe Journey and inaugural Indigenous Economic Opportunities Summit. The Qatuwas Tribal Journey, which was originally first held in Bella Bella, British Columbia in 1993, is a week-long cultural event in which coastal tribal communities from Alaska to Oregon paddle in canoes to Bella Bella to celebrate their cultures and histories. Nearly fifty canoes participated in the event, with nearly five hundred paddlers as well as an estimated thousand guests.

The Summit, which was held on July 15 at Shearwater Resort on Denny Island, was an opportunity for various communities in the United States and Canada to establish business relationships, with a focus on tourism and culture, entrepreneurship, social media, and using urban systems to enable resilient communities.

The Summit had a wide range of participants from various coastal communities, including hosts Heiltsuk Development Corporation in Bella Bella, (Gary Wilson, GM and Frank Brown, Co-Chair). Other guests of note included Shawn Edenshaw from the Council of Haida Nation and Hanford McCloud, the Nisqually Tribe Canoe Journey Coordinator.

The Nisqually tribe will host the next Tribal Journeys summit in Washington state in 2016.

Finally, the Director of Strategic Partnerships with the BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Colleen McCormick was in attendance, reiterating the importance of fostering trade and tourism between First Nations communities on both sides of the border. Guests from as far away as Hawaii, Cuba and England participated in the summit. Speakers included the creator and designer of the OneFeather app Lawrence Lewis from the Malahat Nation, as well as Douglas Neasloss (Kitasoo Xai Xai Nation) from the Spirit Bear Lodge in Klemtu, BC.

Photo Gallery.