Nathanael Scurr will begin filming a documentary, Aotearoa to Seattle, when the roopu (group) he travels with arrives in Seattle today.
Mr Scurr, of Te Atihaunui a Paparangi, and a graduate of the Whanganui School of Design/Waikato University, is a film and multi media designer for Whanganui-based independent Maori research institute for environment and health, Te Atawhai o Te Ao.
Mr Scurr will travel with Dr Takirirangi Smith, a tutor in poutama whakairo (carving) at Whitireia Community Polytech at Porirua, and six of his students.
The roopu will be guests of the Kokomish people of Seattle on a five-day Tribal Journey – the equivalent of the Tira Hoe Waka - the Whanganui iwi annual pilgrimage down the Whanganui River.
The Kokomish have paid for the roopu to attend this year's Pow Wow.
Mr Scurr said the roopu would experience the richness of the Suquamish native coastal culture that was hosting the canoe journey this year.
"We will be looking at the cultures and our similarities."
Because the roopu has come from the furthest point on the planet, it will give the first mihi at the collaboration of indigenous cultures, Mr Scurr said.
Over 100 canoes are expected to take part in the 2009 Tribal Journey in central Puget Sound as they paddle to Port Madison Reservation in North Kitsap County for a week-long Pow Wow.
The journey marks the 20th anniversary of the historic 1989 "Paddle to Seattle", when nine canoes journeyed on the first traditional intertribal canoe voyage, the first in more than 100 years.
Mr Scurr said Chief Seattle, a leader of the Suquamish Tribe who refused to sell his people's land, signed the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot with the US.
The tribe agreed to live on the Port Madison Indian Reservation and give up title to the remainder of the Suquamish lands in return for health care, education and recognition of their fishing and hunting rights.
Chief Seattle died before the "Americanization" policies were introduced to assimilate the Suquamish into the larger society, and eliminated tribal governance that relieved the US of its treaty commitments.
But the assimilation policies failed, and the Suquamish Tribe continued to honour its ancestral ways and preservation of their culture.icy failed and Chief Seattle's people, the their ancestral ways and preserving their culture.