Thursday, October 22, 2015

Young People from the Suquamish Tribe Step Aboard Adventuress

At the end of September, young people from the Suquamish Tribe stepped aboard Adventuress for a 3-day overnight program that combined Suquamish cultural activities with environmental education. Entering its second year, this collaboration with the Suquamish Tribe was originally conceived as a way of encouraging young people to pursue science learning with the hope that someday more Tribal scientists will manage Tribal fisheries and maritime resources.  

Our view from Adventuress as participants paddle away.
On the last day of the program, with Adventuress anchored in the waters of Port Madison Bay, students rotated through a special set of “orbits”: climbing in the rigging and canoeing in a traditional dugout canoe. Uniting his time aboard Adventuress with time in a canoe was very important to Jayden, who says, “My spirit is in a canoe… When I go in the canoe I don’t get tired. I use my energy to the fullest. I think it’s a great opportunity because I’m representing the Tribe.” 

Although most of the participants knew each other before the trip, many reported that their favorite memories centered around bonding as a group. Says Jayden, “I loved when we were all working together. Not everyone gets to have the experience of cooperating and working as a team.” Kaylayla echoes this sentiment, saying, “I learned that I can work with a big group of people… We can all work together and be strong.” Cody remembers Anchor Watch with Crew Member Axcelle and a small group of friends: “It was really fun, just sitting out there making sure that everyone was safe.”  

Young people from the Suquamish Tribe test the pH
of Puget Sound water as part of a lesson on ocean acidification.
While climbing the rigging, participants had a unique perspective of their home—a 360 degree view of Agate Pass, Mount Rainier in the distance, and The House of Awakened Culture on the nearby shore, where people bustled in and out as they prepared a feast and presentation for Suquamish community members and Sound Experience crew. Of going aloft, Simonne says, “It was scary, the ropes were moving back and forth, but I touched the top… It was pretty, because I could see really, really far. It was quiet and peaceful. If there was somewhere to sit, I would stay forever.”

Simonne and nearly all of the other participants had previous experience on the water crabbing and fishing. Many spoke about how different it was to live on a tall ship. Says Jayden, “We’re not fishing, no pots or fishing rods, more lines, more people.” Still, Jayden points out that many maritime skills carry over between vessels: “It’s great to have the experience of tying knots here so that I can use them for fishing.”

At the end of the program, as Suquamish community members and Adventuress crew gathered to share a delicious meal, it was hard not to feel that it was an especially successful trip. Says Cody, “We saw at least one or two [whales] everyday… It was pretty much like they were following us.” Later, after a presentation of traditional dances and games, the enormous doors of the House of Awakened Culture were thrown open. The lunar eclipse was taking place, and the moon was red above the water.

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