Watchlist: ‘Aotearoa to Canada: A Tribal Canoe Journey’

05.13.2021 Kamiah Koch Watchlist


By Kamiah Koch

Social media/digital journalist

A film published to Facebook on April 20, 2021, shares the documented experience of Noel Woods (Ngāti Porou, Te Ātiawa, Ngāruahine) joining the 2017 Canoe Journey with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

Toi Māori Aotearoa is an independent nonprofit Māori arts organization located in New Zealand that partners with the Grand Ronde Tribe to share the mutual indigenous histories and cultures.

Back in 2017, Toi Māori Aotearoa sponsored two Māoris to join the First Nation canoe journey with Grand Ronde Tribal members, paddling 250 kilometers (155 miles) up Pacific Northwest waterways, gathering and visiting other Tribes on the 12-day journey.

“It was a good way to connect with other cultures around the world, but also share our stories because a lot of Indigenous nations look to Māori people,” Woods said in the video.

The video is shot in a “vlog” style with interviews including Grand Ronde Tribal member Brian Krehbiel and a Tribal youth. Wood’s film also shows the experience of paddling, traditional protocols and the many opportunities for sharing stories, songs and dances. Most notably, at the 8:40 time stamp in the video, the traditional Māori dance, the “haka,” is seen being performed by Woods and Grand Ronde Tribal members in a longhouse.

The video showcases Tribal people partaking in this journey as a way to reconnect with their culture and other Tribes of the region. With the Māori joining, it’s also an opportunity to learn about Indigenous people internationally.

The Tribal members interviewed for this video expressed sentiments of growing confidence in their Tribal identity as the Canoe Journey was a place for the First Nations people to share traditions, artwork, stories and histories together.

The 11-minute video can be watched on the Toi Māori Aotearoa Facebook page at: