Coast Salish competitive canoe racing emerged in the mid to late 1800s. The earliest races were held as tourist events using the larger Nuu-chah-nulth style canoes. In 1884, the Canadian Government outlawed the traditional potlatches, ceremonies of great religious and political importance, usually held in the winter months.

Potlaches went from large, public affairs to small more private events. At the same time, the canoe races were gaining in popularity. Dances, salmon barbecues, games and other events were added. Non-First Nations people viewed these events as economic tourism. Salish peoples used these times of gathering for strengthening their sense of community and maintaining their culture. They also used them for public relations with Non-First nations. By the 1930s several of these events had grown to draw many thousands of visitors. Today, the canoeing season lasts from early May to late August/early September.
Canadian Heritage Information Network
The Canadian Canoe Museum; The Elliott Avedon Museum and Archive of Games; Musée des Abénakis; Museum of Anthropology; St. Boniface Museum; Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian; Woodland Cultural Centre; Sport Canada; 2002 North American Indigenous Games Host Society; North American Indigenous Games Council; Aboriginal Sport Circle

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