Healing of the Canoe: Strong People Pulling Together
“The Port Gamble S’Klallam people are rich with heritage and respect. A strong community who pulls together in a time of need, and laughs and loves at all times.”
The Port Gamble S’Klallam Reservation is located on the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State. It is situated on Port Gamble Bay, for generations an important natural resource for Native Americans. The population of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (PGST) is over 1,156 enrolled tribal members. The tribe includes roughly 300 youth, aged 18 years and younger.
PGST identified youth substance abuse prevention and cultural revitalization as two primary areas of concern for the community. The PGST Healing of the Canoe team then gathered information from the community on how to best use tribal strengths and culture to address these concerns. The Tribe chose to further adapt the curriculum previously adapted by the Suquamish Tribe during Phase I of the project, Holding Up Our Youth. Members of the ADAI and PGST research teams met over many months with a tribal Curriculum Revision and Adaptation Committee, composed of PGST Elders and community members. This process resulted in a cognitive-behavioral life skills curriculum, Navigating Life the S’Klallam Way, based on the metaphor of the canoe journey, and that includes PGST beliefs, stories and history. This curriculum/intervention was implemented with PGST high school aged youth at the beginning of 2012, in a series of workshops.
The PGST Chi-e-chee Network served as the advisory board for the PGST Healing of the Canoe project.
The Port Gamble S’Klallam logo was created by Mellynie Ives Griggs who was inspired by Tribal Elders memories of See-ah’s teachings. See-ah She-cha-po-ulth takes her grandchildren to pick blackberries near Hawks Hole by Port Gamble Bay. Her canoe had a collapsible sail, which she would raise while whistling a beautiful song. A gentle breeze would come and make the paddle home easy and they would return just in time to prepare the evening meal. See-ah stored some of the berries in a tightly woven cedar basket layered with ferns, then would bury them in the cold, cold mud of the nearby creek. Those berries would stay fresh to enjoy all through the winter months.
“The Strong People. They love and respect each individual tribal member from birth to elder.”