NAYA Family Canoe Journey: A Relational Worldview Awakening

NAYA Family Canoe Journey: A Relational Worldview Awakening

Water is life. It carries our dreams. It cleanses our souls. The water is blessing us.
Frank Alby, lnupiat, Elder and NAYA Canoe Journey spiritual helper.


Beginning in 2013, a group of NAYA Elders began meeting to develop and plan ways to imple­ment the NAYA Family Canoe Journey.

Our Mission is to honor our ancestors, to inspire our youth, to document the history of the canoe journeys in the Pa­cific NW, and to contribute significantly to the lives of our urban Native American community by building on cultural strengths and assets.

Picture5Before long, we merged with the Portland Youth and Elders Council, a grassroots advocacy group and community project at NAYA. We are a small group of volun­teers and community members.

We use the NICWA theory of change, the Relational Worldview Model. To help each person de­velop their physical, emo­tional, spiritual and social well-being and use an evidence based, com­munity prevention practice devel­oped by the Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Kiallam tribes and the University of Washington, The Healing of the Canoe.

NAYA is located on an ancient Chi­nook village site, Neerchokikoo, near the Columbia River slough. The pullers practice their canoeing skills bi-monthly, either at the slough, the Columbia River or local parks. We have several canoes, each with its own unique personal­ity and name.

The Canoe Journey Family meets twice monthly to plan activities, trainings and events. We are helping NAYA incorpo­rate the Healing of the Canoe curriculum to the Early College Academy, as a life skill course of study. Our goal is to participate in the 2016 Paddle to Nisqually Canoe Jour­ney as the NAYA Canoe Family and continue to organize for future journeys in the years to come.

Community members generously donate financial assistance as well as materials such as canoes and most of all their time, exper­tise, energy and love. While we’ve made significant progress, we encourage and welcome everyone to join our family. Follow us on Facebook or the NAYA website.