New canoe for Tseshaht

Ha-Shilth-Sa, July 16, 2011

Out for a paddle on July 16 in the new Tseshaht canoe  were (front) Lakisha Lewis, 10, and Kiana Wilson, 12, (middle) Wanda Robinson and Jake Wilson, and (back) Tyronne Marshall, Tseshaht’s sports and recreation coordinator.

Port Alberni — 

Tseshaht’s new canoe was launched at Tseshaht Park (across from Paper Mill Dam Park) on July 16.

Tyrone Marshall, Tseshaht’s sports and recreation coordinator, invited a few people to come along for a paddle, and youngsters Kiana Wilson, age 12, and Lakisha Lewis, 10, stepped up, despite their having little paddling experience between them.

Marshall said they seemed like naturals, paddling well around the park waters.

It was just Marshall’s second time in the canoe himself. The first time he skippered it was when the Tseshaht canoe led the Pulling Together Canoe Journey along the Somass River to Harbour Quay on July 8, the final stretch of the group’s eight-day paddling tour of the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Marshall said the canoe trims along nicely in the water. It’s light at 300 lbs.

The canoe is a Calvin Hunt design made of floatation foam and fiberglass, said Marshall. The canoe was an $8,000 investment for a training vessel that will take youth and Tseshaht families on paddles around the Broken Group, weekly paddles at the park or up the Somass.

It gives the nation a bit of independence now that it doesn’t have to look to neighbors and friends to borrow a canoe when the occasion calls for one. And it’s the next step along the path of Tseshaht having its own traditional canoe.

Marshall said there are two logs in the water now, awaiting carvers to craft two traditional canoes. One with go to the Kathy Robinson family. The other will go to Tseshaht.

The new training canoe still has to be named, and Marshall says that Tseshaht will be looking for advice from elders on what that name should be.

By Debora Steel