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Tuesday, March 31, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Paddlers from the Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Colville tribes meet at confluence

The Colville Confederated Tribes’ dugout canoe was getting some adjustments Sunday night on a beach near the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia rivers. (Becky Kramer / The Spokesman-Review)
The Colville Confederated Tribes’ dugout canoe was getting some adjustments Sunday night on a beach near the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia rivers. (Becky Kramer / The Spokesman-Review)
From staff reports

The Colville Confederated Tribes’ dugout canoe was getting some adjustments Sunday night on a beach near the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia rivers.

The cedar canoe was made in Nespelem, Washington, and launched Friday for its trip up the Columbia River to Kettle Falls, where members of five Upper Columbia tribes will meet this weekend for a solstice celebration and salmon ceremony. But the paddlers realized that the seats were too high, which made the canoe tippy in rough water.

Members of the Colville and Coeur d’Alene tribes worked together to lower the seats and apply caulking to the canoe.

The camaraderie on the beach gave Dan Nanamkin a good feeling.

“It touched my heart,” he said.

Nanamkin is the director of the Nespelem Community Center, where the canoe was carved from a cedar log over the past year by members of the tribe. The canoe was given the name “Xwilwi,” which means “travel around” in the Salish language. A salmon and coyote tracks are carved into the side, recalling the story of how Coyote brought salmon to Kettle Falls, Nanamkin said.

Travis Adams was one of the paddlers in the Colville canoe, which met up with the canoes from the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene tribes Sunday near Two Rivers Casino.

“This brings me closer to the river,” Adams said. “My people, my tribe, my family were people of the Columbia River.”

The canoe journey continued Monday, with plans for a 4 p.m. landing Friday in Kettle Falls.

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