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Seahawks rookies, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe canoe across Lake Washington

The Muckleshoot Tribe led the newest members of the Seahawks across Lake Washington in canoes.

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks rookies got the unique opportunity to take part in a novel team-building exercise Tuesday. According to John Boyle on the Seattle Seahawks official team website, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe teamed up with the Seahawks to organize a canoe expedition for the newest members of the team. Spread across three canoes, members of the tribal community led the group in what was apparently some pretty challenging work for the rookies. From the sounds of it, the rookies hit some expected struggles, but still had a positive and productive experience nonetheless. Even Pete Carroll took part!

Based off the shouts of both joy and fear, as well as the rocking of the canoes on a breezy day, the rookies may not quite have hit that goal of one heart, one mind, but overall the afternoon was a big success anyway based on the smiles on everyone’s faces, and the fact that everyone stayed dry…Well, everyone except undrafted rookie nose tackle Jonah Tavai, who, apparently out of respect of Muckleshoot customs, jumped off the dock and into the lake after referring to a canoe as a boat.

“We had a great experience,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after joining his players on a canoe. “It was tremendous to have the Muckleshoot Tribe out here to take care of us and make this a really fun event for us. It was a little more difficult than we thought—we thought it would just be fun and games, but we had to work at it. Fortunately, we had a great skipper out there and she took care of us. It’s really good though to be connected with them and to recognize how crucial this area has been to their history.”

Not only was this a great team building exercise for the new teammates, it is also historic; one of the canoes that was used had been restricted to tribal use only prior to its use in Tuesday’s event. Boyle reports the following:

With representatives of the Tribal Council in attendance and with members of the Muckleshoot Tribe on each canoe, a group of more than 30 Seahawks rookies took to Lake Washington in three Muckleshoot canoes, including Spirit Eagle, the Tribe’s cherished, hand-carved canoe which, until recently, could only be used by Tribal Members.

Beyond the team-building aspect, a big focus for the event was educating the newest members of the team on some of the history of the area and of the Coast Salish peoples who have called it home for so many years.

“The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe is a water people,” Stevenson said. “A core piece of our identity comes from the waterways here in this region, whether that’s the fresh water or the salt water. Primarily, substance was pulled from those resources, whether that’s fisheries within the rivers or the fisheries within the salt water, the salmon, just the bounty that the Salish Sea provides. Bottom line is, the Salish Sea doesn’t exist without our people; we don’t exist without the Salish Sea. It’s a core part of who we are, and we’re a core part of what this region represents.”