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Thousands celebrate tribal canoe journey at Lummi Nation

The Paddle to Lummi event is expected to draw more than 10,000 people to the Bellingham area.

More than 100 canoes from tribes around the world arrived at the Lummi Nation as part of the Paddle to Lummi canoe journey.

Tribes arrived Wednesday to a large crowd at Stommish Landing who greeted them. Tribes gather a team of pullers for the journey. They leave their own shores in canoes and visit other tribal lands as they make their way to the host tribe's land.

Paddle to Lummi is a significant cultural event for indigenous people along the West Coast that is expected to draw more than 10,000 people to the Bellingham area. The annual canoe journey is a celebration of their way of life.

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"This is a celebration of how our ancestors lived and how we live today," said Jeremiah Julius, chairman of the Lummi Nation. "Our tribes have traveled the Salish Sea since time immemorial and we continue to survive on the fish it provides. The waters have fueled our economies and provided passage to visit our relatives.”

The Paddle to Lummi event will take place from July 24 through July 28.

"The Salish Sea is part of who we are as a people," said Julius. "We celebrate the life it gives and commit to protecting it for all the generations to come."