Thank you for taking a moment to learn about our Indigenous led, ally supported program, the Canoe Journey Herbalists project.
Every summer, thousands of Indigenous community members travel their ancestral waters as part of the Intertribal Canoe Journey.
Alongside physical and emotional challenge, this annual event is a celebration of cultural lifeways and Native pride as the largest gathering of Indigenous people across the Salish Seas. In the spirit of Potlatch tradition (Chinook jargon for the Native spirit of gift giving)... our project works to provide a free, community-centered healing space. By offering plant medicines, support for Indigenous Healers and midwives, as well as first aid and trauma care, we are creating pathways for connection and community healing.
In the words of the project’s founder, Indigenous midwife, herbalist and Cowlitz tribal member Rhonda Lee Grantham, “our medicines are created in community, to be gifted in community”.
All year round, we gather, harvest, and grow plant medicines as we prepare to Potlatch the thousands of medicines that are prepared each year. As a community-based, volunteer run organization, the more medicine we make, the more medicine we are able to give away.Our work answers the call of the Indigenous communities we serve
We now invite our greater community to be a part of this essential, life-generating work. You can help by contributing to the thriving and sustaining of our project and mission.
After three years of setting up infrastructure, building, and strengthening our grass-roots project, we are ready to accept financial support from outside contributors to help fuel our growing community project.
We have happily outgrown our personal kitchens, moved into an office/medicine-making space, and expanded our year round collaborations. Our hope is to reach our fundraising goal by July 13th
- which is the kick-off date for our 3rd year serving participants of the Intertribal Canoe Journey!
Many of you have expressed interest in contributing through donations, and now is the perfect moment to send us love and support through good-old cash flow, a very necessary component to helping any nonprofit organization run effectively! We would like to thank everyone who has contributed, and continues to contribute, time, energy, plants or land to the project.
You all have helped it grow to the wonderful community-based organization it is today. We would especially like to thank the Cowlitz Indian tribe, the Na’-ah Illahee Fund, Making Connections Initiative and all of the many groups and individuals who have gotten us to where we are today. Thank you for your continued support and participation in this work. For those of you who are new to the project, please read below for information
, history, updates about who we are, what we are up to, and what kind of support we need from community members like you. Thank you for visiting our fundraising campaign today.
With deep gratitude, The Canoe Journey Herbalists Team
Facebook at : Canoe Journey Herbalists
From the mission statement: History of the Project:
The first seeds for the Canoe Journey Herbalists project were planted in the winter of 2016 when Indigenous Midwife, Herbalist, and Cowlitz Tribal Member Rhonda Lee Grantham provided care as part of the Standing Rock Medic & Healers Council
While treating water protectors (Indigenous activists on the front-lines of the Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice movement at Standing Rock), Rhonda made a promise to PNW Natives that she had been supporting during her time there. She assured them she would somehow find a way to support the healing journey that they had begun and wanted to continue back home.
Although the camps at Standing Rock have been dismantled, the struggle for Indigenous sovereignty and decolonization continues.
The need for healing through revitalization of culture and cultural healing practices in Indigenous communities is ongoing
As a long time participant of Intertribal Canoe Journey, Rhonda saw a perfect opportunity to continue the work she started at Standing Rock by providing similar health care and support at the Intertribal Canoe Journey in the Pacific Northwest.
As stated before, the Intertribal Canoe Journey is the largest gathering of Indigenous peoples in the Pacific Northwest. For more information on the importance and deep meaning behind this sacred journey, watch the video below:
Canoe Journey is a challenge to sobriety and wellness for all community members, from the youngest youth to treasured Elders.
It gives Native youth the leadership skills that strengthen their resiliency, cultural identity and awareness. It increases positive engagement in their community and promotes healthy choices and lifestyles. It also provides an environment where Elders can share stories, cultural knowledge, and come together in community with other coast Salish peoples.
Canoe Journey is also a difficult challenge.... physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Indigenous participants spend 3-4 weeks or more under the hot sun, paddling in saltwater
. Participants are in need of care not only for physical ailments, but for their whole selves.
Between foot baths for Elders, support for chronic issues, breastfeeding support, trauma care, and traditional healing, we serve hundreds and reach thousands in a space centered on community healing and culturally safety.“Just as the Intertribal Canoe Journey has revitalized the cultures of participating Indigenous nations, we believe, and have witnessed, that plant medicine is one more pathway to connection and community healing” -Rhonda Lee Grantham. Who we are/ what we do today:
The Canoe Journey Herbalists Project has grown into a generative community offering that operates year-round. Since its founding, we have grown into a program committed to bridging access to plant medicines and traditional knowledge throughout the year. By supporting Indigenous Healers, Herbalists, and Midwives.... as teachers and as learners... we have also created a space for ally supporters to be in right relationship with land and community.
We believe that access to traditional medicine, ancestral connection, and health sovereignty are integral to healing personal and collective wounds of trauma and colonization.
We enact these beliefs by providing opportunities to connect with plant healing, supporting Indigenous community through responding to community needs, and fostering pathways for learning about plant medicine and decolonization through year-round workshops and knowledge-sharing during Journey.
We provide Indigenous-centered, ally supported opportunities to harvest, grow, and craft plant medicines- all to be gifted from our free herbal healing bus
in support of the Intertribal canoe journey.
When not directly serving at Journey, we provide educational workshops and herbal treatment services during Native community events. For example, we provide herbal foot baths during Elder retreats and healing herbal teas during events like the March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. By participating in Native events year-round, we are able to increase our impact and build stronger relationships with those we serve.
Here's how you can help!:As a volunteer led program, the money you contribute
will be used to support general operating costs for our programming, including costs for our work space and keeping the bus on the road! Our healers generously donate their time, miss work and volunteer long hours with us for 2-3weeks. But despite the thousands of volunteer hours gifted by our amazing crew....Funding is necessary to support the travel, food and other expenses of our team! Thank you for your contribution in making this work sustainable!
The remainder of funds will be used to support our year round programming which includes:- Herbal First-Aid Supplies at Canoe Journey- Free Herbal Medicine Workshops for Indigenous Youth- Our new Herbal Medicine Apprenticeship Programs for Indigenous Healers- Herbal Medicine Treatments for Indigenous Elders - Support for our Nine (and growing) Herbal Medicine Community Gardens
- Medicine making supplies
-Support for our ongoing efforts to Decolonize herbalism & embrace community healing - Hosting of Community Harvesting Workshops
-Attendance at year round Indigenous, Black solidarity, and other events celebrating POC - Support for our overhead expenses as we grow into a thriving, sustainable organization
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We are so grateful for your contribution
! It has a huge impact for our project and we really appreciate it! As always, we couldn't do this without our incredible community ❤️
If you'd like to read further about the work our organization is doing, here is a link to an article written about us in Yes! Magazine:https://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/standing-rock-medic-bus-is-now-a-traveling-decolonized-pharmacy
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