Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture
Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture

World Tribe Canoe Ceremony at El Dorado Beach June 20

Posted on June 19, 2012
Filed Under South Tahoe Events

On June 2oth, indigenous carvers from around the world will convene along the shores of Lake Tahoe at El Dorado Beach to create  a 70 foot Trimaran blending ‘ancient art with state of the art’, under the direction of Maori Chief Wikuki Kingi and hosted by the Washoe Tribe. Upon completion, this “floating university” will travel the world sharing indigenous wisdom in service to protecting our world’s water.

Traveling 10,000 miles from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Maori Chief Wikuki Kingi and Dr. Tania Wolfgramm (Tonga/Maori) will lead the indigenous protocols and ceremony starting the World Tribe Canoe Project on Wednesday, June 20, at 3:30 p.m.

The World Tribe Canoe ceremony takes place at the newly refurbished grand opening of El Dorado Beach Park in South Lake Tahoe. Ceremonies begin at 3:30 pm, followed by live music and Liz Brosco leading a drum circle at 5:00 featuring Washoe & fire dancers. The California canoe and tule boats demonstrations will be featured with carvings by Wikuki at the 4th Annual Lake Tahoe Paddle Festival on the weekend June 23 & 24 from 9 to 5.

One of California’s most distinguished Native American artist and scholar L. Frank (Tongva/Acjachemen Tribe) and Cultural Conservancy director Dr. Melissa Nelson (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) plus Washoe Tribe members will preform rituals to commence the construction and mission for the World Tribe Canoe /WTC. The  blessings are as critical as the construction itself.

Chief Wikuki Kingi is famous for designing and building beautiful Polynesian catamarans or Wakas. Last year, his Waka made the 20,000 trip, guided by Elders using ancient navigation wisdom of the waves and stars (no GPS). In 2009 Wikuki and Tania lead the construction of the 80 ft high World Totem built by 30 carvers from different cultures to share the stories of their homeland. This project inspired the “floating University” vision – a sacred container  vessel to travel the worlds rivers and lakes with “original instructions” of native peoples teachings.

The vessel is what Dayberry calls “Ancient Art to State of the Art™ a juxtaposition of Native design and the most advanced technology”. Like the Pou Kapua, craft masters from around the world will come to Tahoe creating the hulls of this massive 70’ trimaran. Some of the more high tech features are a bio-diesel hybrid power plant, photovoltaic panels, Kevlar sails, aluminum and composite framework. “There will be a lot creative ingenuity coming from all around the world,” says Darrel Cruz, Cultural/Language Director for the Washoe Tribe.

The goal is to launch at the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco. “From there the mission is to be a functional “message taker” and icon for exploring and creating a better future based on wisdom and resilience of indigenous cultures. The WTC  will serve as a symbolic lifeboat with essential seeds, foods, baskets, bundles, and teachings. As an educational, visual and artistic project enabling artists from around the world to take part, it will be unique and original and aid in changing perceptions through creative leadership” states Dr. Nelson.

The WTC is seeking partnerships with groups like Rotary International & United Nations who support improving health by providing clean drinking water where diseases like cholera, typhoid fever and hepatitis A, are prevalent waterborne killers. “As we travel the great rivers and lakes of the world we will educate and install remote solar powered water filtration systems” states Dayberry, “The simple modular unit systems consist of residential filter cartridges, a PV solar panel, battery and a small pump. A basic system like this can provide 1000 gallons per day to a remote village that has not power or infrastructure.”

Don’t miss the 4th Annual Lake Tahoe Paddle Festival on June 23 & 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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