Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Guest Blog from SAMAQAN Crew.

Ramsay Bourquin in Iskut
I was the production stills photographer on Samaqan: Water stories while covering 2012’s Tribal Journeys, and the Protocol was the culmination of a long pull for the many canoe families that traveled vast distances to reach this point (Olympia, Washington).  

I parked the van as the rest of the crew ran ahead to catch the action. Walking up to the protocol tent my hart was beating in excitement to witness something I’ve only heard about a few months before. The first thing you feel is the energy of the protocol grounds, smiling faces, art work, great food, laughs and the rumble of the drums reverberating from the massive protocol tent.

I entered the tent with a greeting from a welcoming Squaxin host and my camera ready. I stepped in to the past brought to the present by the honor, tradition, songs and dances of cultural protocol for the Paddle to Squaxin 2012. 

I cannot begin to tell of the importance of this annual event, but what I can say is that it is one of the most amazing cultural events hosted in North America. An event that makes sure the teachings and traditions of the many cultures along the Pacific North West gets handed down to the next generation.
 Here are some of the photos I took from the protocol Tent for the Paddle to Squaxin 2012.

Maori Contingent

Henare Tahuri

Alaska, Frank Nelson and Bella Bella

Vina Brown

Dawnda Joseph

Heiltsuk take the floor

I am from the Tahltan First Nations and grew up in the mountains of Northern British Colombia.  Our traditional songs and dances are slowly fading away, and in being surrounded by the culture of the coastal peoples so alive and well I was truly inspired.  Everyone should experience tribal Journeys.

Every song and every dance tells a story, the sharing of these stories during protocol is an experience no camera can truly capture. Shooting in the protocol tent was one of the most difficult shooting situations I have been in. Low mixed color temperature light with fast moving dancers, called for some quick thinking and missed shots. It was an amazing experience to be covering such a story with the Samaqan team, and one I will never forget.

Ramsay Bourquin

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