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Authors: Gary Robinson

Tribal Journey

BOOK: Tribal Journey

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Robinson, Gary, 1950-

Tribal journey / Gary Robinson.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-1-939053-01-5 (pbk.) — ISBN 978-1-939053-87-9 (e-books)

1. Duwamish Indians--Juvenile fiction. 2. Children with disabilities--Juvenile fiction. 3. Canoes and canoeing--Juvenile fiction. 4. Self-esteem--Juvenile fiction. 5. Self-confidence--Juvenile fiction. 6. West Seattle (Seattle, Wash.)--Juvenile fiction. [1. Duwamish Indians--Fiction. 2. Indians of North America—Fiction. 3. People with disabilities--Fiction. 4. Canoes and canoeing--Fiction. 5. Self-esteem- Fiction. 6. Self-confidence--Fiction. 7. West Seattle (Seattle, Wash.)--Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.R56577Tri 2013




© 2013 Gary Robinson

Cover and interior design: Deirdre Nemmers

Cover photo: Gary Robinson

Taken at the 2008 Tribal Journeys canoe gathering at Cowichan Bay, British Columbia.

Pictured is one of the 109 tribal canoes that arrived on the host tribe's shores that year.

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced by any means whatsoever, except for brief quotations in reviews, without written permission from the publisher.

7th Generation, a division of
Book Publishing Company
PO Box 99, Summertown, TN 38483

ISBN: 978-1-939053-01-5

18 17 16 15 14 13          1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Printed in the United States

Book Publishing Company is a member of Green Press Initiative. We chose to print this title on paper with 100% postconsumer recycled content, processed without chlorine, which saved the following natural resources:

• 16 trees

• 488 pounds of solid waste

• 7,292 gallons of water

• 1,345 pounds of greenhouse gases

• 7 million BTU of energy

For more information on Green Press Initiative, visit

Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Defense Fund Paper Calculator.

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Chapter 1: Freedom Rings

Chapter 2: Quality Family Time

Chapter 3: Spring Break

Chapter 4: Bottomless Pit

Chapter 5: Rolling Along

Chapter 6: Us and Them

Chapter 7: The Canoe Family

Chapter 8: Ambassadors

Chapter 9: Whispers on the Wind

Chapter 10: The Smell of the Ocean

Chapter 11: Crossing the Straits

Chapter 12: Landing Day

About the Author


I want to thank a few people for their assistance in the development of this book.

First, there is my friend and colleague Swil Kanim, a Lummi storyteller, musician, visionary, and inspirational motivator extraordinaire. His thoughts, words, music, and prayers are always most appreciated.

Cindy Williams of the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center in West Seattle graciously agreed to review the book to ensure its cultural appropriateness. It's always good to get feedback from a tribal community when creating stories and characters from that community. A big
wa- do
(“thank you” in Cherokee) to Cindy.

Finally, there is Jessy Lucas, who is an accomplished young Native puller, singer, and drummer, and one of the few people in the world able to play the hand flute. His work with Northwest tribal cultures, along with his own personal experiences with tribal canoe journeys, provided a solid foundation on which this book is based. His time and insights are most appreciated.



Chapter 1
Freedom Rings

I'm lucky to even be alive to tell you my story. I learned the hard way that texting and driving don't mix. And that healing can come from unexpected places. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It was the first Friday in April. The three o'clock bell rang. Screams of joy erupted from every classroom. Spring break had arrived. Freedom at last! A whole week of unsupervised fun!

I escaped the West Seattle High School building like it was on fire.

“Jason! Jason!” I heard my name being called from across the school's front lawn. It was my best friend, Ron.

“Ron, what's up?”

“I'm jazzed,” he said. “My family's spring break trip was canceled. I'll be here all next week!”

“Awesome. Maybe we can cruise the Junction. Or hit Alki Beach every day! I've got to stay in shape for the swim meet next month.”

“Whoa,” he said. “I don't have unlimited use of the family car, remember. I have to ‘earn' it by doing chores around the house. You know, the point system.”

“Oh yeah.” I had to think for a minute. We were both sixteen, but neither of us had a car.

“I've got it,” I said finally. “Tomorrow's Saturday. I can come over. We can work our way through a whole list of chores around your house. Maybe we can earn enough points to use the car all week.”

A horn honked. We both looked to see his mom's car waiting at the curb.

“Sounds possible,” Ron said. “I'll text you,” he shouted, as he ran toward the car.

“Later,” I shouted back.

I caught my usual bus for the ride home. Riding the bus wasn't fun, because most of the riders were younger kids. But both my parents worked, so the bus was the only way for me to get home. I usually sat in the back and looked out the window. Or just thought about stuff.

I grew up here in West Seattle. Most people don't know that this area was the original Seattle. It's where the white settlers first landed in this region to create their new home. But of course there were people already here. My mother's people—the Duwamish Indians. Her ancestors were on the shore to greet the settlers when they arrived.

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