Canoes, and the protocols attached to them, play a central role in cultural revitalization and resilience for many Indigenous nations of the Pacific Northwest. The revitalization of canoe culture is most visibly present in Tribal Journeys, a weeks-long paddle and gathering of Indigenous nations that annually brings together thousands of Native American/First Nations citizens. The Chinook Indian Nation has been an active and early participant in canoe resurgence in general, and Tribal Journeys specifically. For the Chinook, canoe protocols reflect a vision of “reciprocal heritage” that is located in embodied practice, is based in tribal cultural values of reciprocity and place, and is forward-looking. Perhaps most importantly, canoe culture and the performance of protocols occur explicitly outside of the framework of the colonial nation-state. In this sense the performance of protocol is not just an aspect of culture, it is fundamentally an act of decolonization.
A Heritage of Reciprocity: Canoe Revitalization, Cultural Resilience, and the Power of Protocol
Jon D. Daehnke is an associate professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research and teaching interests focus on critical heritage studies, cultural resource policy and law, Indigenous studies, and the archaeology and history of the Pacific Northwest Coast. He is the author of Chinook Resilience: Heritage and Cultural Revitalization on the Lower Columbia River (University of Washington Press, 2017), a heritage ethnography written in collaboration with the Chinook Indian Nation.
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Jon D. Daehnke; A Heritage of Reciprocity: Canoe Revitalization, Cultural Resilience, and the Power of Protocol. The Public Historian 1 February 2019; 41 (1): 64–77. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2019.41.1.64
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