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Father William Duncan Missionary To Tsimshian

A Memory of Bishop Burton

Father William Duncan born, Bishop Burton was missionary among the Tsimshian of British Columbia.  He moved portion of the Tsimshian to Metlakatla, Alaska and this Canoe Project will be an re-enactment of this historic event.  He was sponsored by the Church Missionary Society.
Major tribal historic event will be happening August 2007 for the Tsimshian Tribe of Metlakatla, Alaska.  Started by Eli Milton, Tsimshian Carver/Artist of Anacortes, Washington is planning to build 17 Tsimhian Canoes in the heartland of Tsimshian Country; namely, Prince Rupert, British Columbia attracting carvers, artists of the region.  Never has such a huge cultural event like this happen for the Tsimshian people.  It is to commemorate Tsimshians at Sea for their trade route extended to the ice edge of the Arctic Circle; known among the Tlingits, Pacific Coast Tribes; Makah Tribe traded with Tsimshians; and travels extended to California Coast seeking the abalone shells which are used in Tsimshian Regalia, headdresses and other uses for the Tsimshian Button Blanket.

This undertaking will gather together Tsimshian Carvers and Artists from Alaska, Washington and British Columbia to learn, to carve, and to revive the art of canoe building, with tribal advisors, mentors, and master artists overseeing the Tsimshian Canoe Project.  It instills upon those participating a cultural learning experience, learn more about not only themselves but preserving and maintaining their arts.  For the Tsimshian it is to commemorate their return to the sea for they once traveled great distances on their trade route.  This Cultural Event is a revival of that return to the sea, for the Tsimshian are well known along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to California.

Reviving the art of canoe making among Tsimshian deserves documenting this cultural event to preserve as tribal history, mark as returning to the sea, mark as cultural reminder of the extensive trade route of the Tsimshian, mark as mode of travel for the ancestors of the Tsimshian, use to teach the younger generation the greatness of the Tsimshian Tribe and how far and wide they traveled in their trade routes. It is reviving the maritime cultural tradition of the Tsimshian who had command of the sea and trade was extensive.
One recent Canoe project:  “There’s all kinds of sentiment involved,” explains Jeff Smith, a Makah tribal member who helps organize the yearly event. “The real meaning of the canoe journey is at getting healthy — physical is only a part of it — but it is meant to hit at the mind, body and soul.”  
2005 Canoe Journey: "Right there, you got your people out here singing," said Junior Slape, Nisqually tribe member and canoe participant. "It's unity." “Begun in 1989, the journeys continue, in part, to help communities heal from such issues as suicide, and drug and alcohol abuse. They are a way for many to find their way back to winter ceremonies, songs, language, art, and self-determination.”  (American Friends Service Committee, Seattle, WA)
For the Tsimshian there is a direct cultural tie to the ocean, the resources of the waters, direct contact with other tribes on the whole Pacific Coast, and one in the spirit with the ocean.  Tsimshian are at home on the sea and even today their livelihood comes from the ocean with modern day vessels.  August 2007 these Canoes will be paddled to Metlakatla, Alaska from Metlakatla, British Columbia for a re-enactment of Tsimshian Tribe move from BC to Alaska.  And further celebration will take place with Founder’s Day Celebration where a Chief’s name will be brought out which means a huge tribal potlatch.  Good time to visit Metlakatla, Alaska first full week of August 2007 to see a tribal historic event happen.  It will be recorded, documented, filmed, photographed and placed on CDs.  We are seeking corporate sponsorship for this huge cultural event. Long range goal is to have continuation of the Tsimshian Arts. Contact Eli Milton at: jadesign1@comcast.net or terrancehboothsr@gmail.com  For sponsorship Canoe will have corporate logo on it or fly corporate banner on travels.  Targeting July 31, 2006 in the Paddle to Muckleshoot in Seattle area as kick-off and announcement of Tsimshian Event in both British Columbia and Alaska.

A memory shared by Terrance H Booth Sr. , on Jul 9th, 2006.

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