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“Interdependence”….moose needs wolf to survive as much as wolf needs moose.
Fish design on door at Tea-N-Bannock.
Paddle I made….then painted….”Keeping Faith”.
Feather box made then painted.
Drum painted for Bear clan friend.
Couple of studies….works in progress.
Buffalo drum for young friend.
Another painting done….on 16″ X 20″ canvas….called “Bear Spirit”.
“Sticking Your Neck Out”, what leadership means to me.
When one thinks of leadership, one can be reminded of watching a V-formation of geese in flight.
The lead goose is sticking its neck out to break the air currents for the rest of the flock, thereby making it easier for the others to fly (as they “draft” in behind).
But if you watch that V-formation long enough, you’ll see that the lead goose will eventually fall back and another one will come up to take its place.
So a good leader will stick its neck out for whoever is following, setting a good example for the others.
But also a good leader knows when to let another lead, when to let others have a chance.
Painting for my partner Jenny Blackbird’s birthday, ”Flight of Fantasy”.
Wedding gift for Jenny’s cousin, “In Unison”.
“Turtle Island/Mother Earth/Mother and Child”….acrylic on 16″ X 20″ canvas
A very quick study done on a canvas board….from sketching to painted in less than 5 hours….came up with the idea thinking of a certain Ma’iingan (wolf) kwe I walk with….who is a jingle dress dancer….I’m planning a larger canvas based on this soon.
I think of the issues faced by Canada’s Native peoples….and how this current government has treated First Nations….and then think again how almost all (if not all) governments have treated Canada’s Original peoples. Whether Provincial or Federal, governments should learn to listen to First Nations….to actually hear them….we have two ears and one mouth so should listen twice as much as we speak.
It was said that when the Europeans first came and ‘discovered’ North America that they had no eyes and no ears, since they didn’t see or hear. Maybe it is time to change that. Open up their eyes….and ears.
This was one of the reasons that Idle No More came to be….
From Facebook 9from Amber Sandy)….Mino Kanata Kiishikaat!.
I have often mentioned Art Solomon. Read Art’s poem ‘My Relations: O Canada’ from Eating Bitterness: A Vision Beyond Prison Walls:
In Deconstructing ‘Canada’: A Vision of Hope, David J. Bondy wrote about Art Solomon and this poem from Eating Bitterness: A Vision Beyond Prison Walls:
Arthur Solomon was a First Nations teacher and spiritual leader who lived in Northern Ontario, Canada. Living and teaching the lessons of Native spirituality, Solomon pursued a vision of change, hope and healing. In his lifetime, Solomon fought passionately for Anishinabe voices in Canada to be heard. In his poem, ‘My Relations: O Canada’, Solomon problematizes the very foundations of hegemonic culture, challenging the assumptions behind the Western notions of subjectivity and nation. Solomon destabilizes the concept of ‘Canada’ as a nation, as a unified whole, by articulating the absences upon which ‘Canada’ is predicated, particularly the absence/exclusion of Native American voices and perspectives. In locating and exposing these silences, Solomon is deconstructing ‘Canada’ by upsetting the system of binary logic upon which notions of nation and identity are based. Solomon makes it clear that Canada, as a nation, cannot progress and heal until it learns to listen to and respect the voices of Native culture….
….the demarcation of boundaries which, as Solomon shows, have excluded Native peoples from the dominant Euro-American conception of ‘Canada’. Solomon is engaged in a…deconstructive project….that….demonstrates that the position of the Native as silent Other is crucial to our Western hegemonic identity….For Natives to speak, to claim subjectivity, is a transgressive act that disrupts the ‘order of things’. Solomon is locating these silences and writing/speaking them into the forefront. He is exposing how ‘Canada’, as a historical and nationalistic construction, is predicated on the systematic exclusion of Native peoples and Native voices, achieved through the silencing processes of systemic racism. By politicizing these silences, Solomon is engaged in….opening up spaces for silenced voices to speak themselves out of silence.
Solomon makes it clear that the marginalization of Native voices is not the result of any casual oversight. He writes to ‘Canada’: ‘You have rejected/and refused,/the most colourful/the most fundamental/thread of all./You have refused to include the original/people of this land…’ (Solomon, Eating Bitterness). Solomon forcefully asserts that the absence of Native voices from the dominant conception of ‘Canada’ is a result of a deliberate and systematic omission, a continuation of the same colonial project inaugurated by the early European explorers….
….At the centre of his poem (both literally and thematically), Solomon begins a stanza with the phrase ‘O Canada’: these two words, uttered together, invoke an entire range of associations. The phrase ‘O Canada’, as a verbal sign, so to speak, signifies on many levels. Every weekday morning, millions of children in classrooms across Canada, children of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds, sing these words, which begin the Canadian national anthem, in praise of ‘our’ nation. There is such certainty evoked by the word ‘Canada’, particularly in the context of this anthem; there is no question as to what Canada is – Canada is simply Canada. It is, as the song goes on, ‘our home and native land’ (here Solomon is obviously intending the allusion to this verse and the double meaning of the phrase ‘native land’). This sense of ownership is suggested, and with such sureness: ‘our home’. In this context, ‘Canada’ is unproblematic, unified and coherent.
This is exactly where Solomon catches us. His second line of the stanza – ‘you are sick’ – undermines the sense of coherency and stability usually suggested by this image of Canada. Solomon problematizes ‘Canada’ by suggesting that, rather than unified and stable, it is a concept marked by certain fundamental absences and silences which threaten to destabilize its very constitution….The song ‘O Canada’, as a particular example, validates hegemonic culture by evoking dominant ideas about Canada and presenting it as an unproblematic whole. Solomon deconstructs this, challenging hegemonic ideology by suggesting that there is no unity. By interrogating the spaces of silence/violence at the heart of this concept, Solomon opens up ‘Canada’ to an important postcolonial investigation.
Solomon, in deconstructing the Western conceptions of Native Americans as non-white Others….asserting that there exists a lack not within Native culture but rather at the very heart of the hegemonic Western culture that has denied the diverse voices of Native people. This ‘lack’ is central to what Solomon diagnoses as the pathology of Western colonial culture, a culture that is ‘sick’ because it has ignored the teachings and wisdom of Native Americans. He is thus problematizing and/or subverting the position of the dominant culture which represents itself as fully realized.
Solomon is also problematizing the constructed colonial identities of Natives by stressing the diversity of Native culture; in describing it as ‘colourful’ (Art Solomon, Eating Bitterness), he is suggesting its richness and diversity. Asserting the reality of a multiplicity of Native cultures and languages, Solomon again upsets the binary logic of oppositional identities which relies on the stereotypical conception of ‘Native’ as a monolithic category. By addressing this diversity, Solomon upsets the categories by which hegemonic culture seeks to contain and control Native culture.
Solomon is also engaged in this poem in deconstructing the Western idea of ‘progress’….Solomon rejects these Western colonial capitalist notions of progress, and suggests just the opposite:
You have refused to include the original
people of this land
and your tapestry
of life will never
And when you stop destroying
and the people
of the earth
then your healing
Canada, as a nation, Solomon writes, cannot grow, cannot ‘progress’ and heal, until it learns to listen to and respect the voices and teachings of Native culture. Western ‘progress’, as a capitalist ideology based on the importance of commercial and territorial expansion and monetary gain, is central to the Western psyche. Solomon, by locating this ideology as the source of Western pathology, opens up the often unchallenged authority of Western culture to a series of questions and probings, and makes room for – indeed, suggests the need for – Native voices to be heard.
Solomon’s project in ‘My Relations: O Canada’ is central to the theoretical project of contemporary cultural studies and postcolonial theory. Solomon problematizes Canadian concepts of identity and nation by exposing the politics which inform our national identity. With his words, he is paving the way for a diverse nation to become accountable to those voices that have been silenced and marginalized. Solomon offers us a vision of hope, ultimately, that it is not too late for us to learn from Native culture – perhaps most importantly, to learn how to heal.
As well, I will add a few more words from Eating Bitterness: A Vision From Beyond The Prison Walls by Art Solomon (who worked so actively on behalf of Native peoples in the prisons):
“When Christopher Columbus landed in North America not one Native person was in prison, because there were no prisons. We had laws and order because law was written in the hearts and minds and souls of the people and when justice had to be applied it was tempered with mercy. The laws came from the ceremonies which were given by the spirit people, the invisible ones. As a people we were less than perfect as all other people are, but we had no prisons because we didn’t need them. We knew how to live and we also knew how not to live.”
Native people in Canada often find some of the words in ‘O Canada’ more than ironic….especially ‘our home and native land’….given the housing issues in most First Nation communities….and that this country of Canada was part of Turtle Island….truly was Native land.
Always one to believe in trying to see the positive side of things, I want to at least give voice to this discussion in a different format….so I am posting a few versions of ‘O Canada’….in Native tongues.
First a version from Asani, an Aboriginal womens a cappella group from Edmonton, Alberta. They present a stirring rendition of “O, Canada,” re-imagined to reflect the myriad peoples who call Canada their homeland. The group Asani hails from Alberta, Canada. They are: Debbie Houle, Sarah Pocklington, and Sherryl Sewepagahan. Here, Asani performs the Canadian National Anthem in the groups unique style:
There is this version sung at the 2010 Olympics Torch run November 7, 2009. O Canada – kā-kanātahk the National Anthem in Cree. Sung by Lac La Ronge Indian Band member, Aileen Searson. Elders, Veterans,Torch bearers, Chief Tammy Cook-Searson, Vice Chief Morley Watson and community members stood proudly listening to the National Anthem in Cree.
And Robbie sings Oh Canada in Ojibway:
11 Year old Kalolin Johnson performs at the closing ceremonies of the Jeux Du Canada Games, on February 27,2011. Kalolin Johnson performed the National Anthem in her native Language Mi’kmaq and also in English, and was accompanied by Anna Ludlow, Ryan MacNeil, and artists from the National Arts Program who performed their piece in French . The video footage was taken by the TSN network.
And the Red Bull Singers sing Oh Canada in a Round Dance version:
Native people sometimes wear what is called a Unity button….a button with the four colours of red, white, black and yellow on it….these colours represent the four sacred colours of the Medicine Wheel….the four races of man….and these colours all meet in the middle….so we need to learn to meet in the middle too….to actually find common ground….equal footing. On what is our home….and NATIVE land.
Thought I would share this from the late Native artist and poet, Michael Robinson (http://www.michaelrobinson.ca/2007/new/2007poet-and-the-song.html):
The Poet and the Song
Born on a star path
worn by Eagles and wind
I live in the heart of the sun.
My mother’s heart is the river of time.
The dark forest wall
is where my father sleeps,
where he gave me passage
to this small bend in the river.
The forest stands before me
an ancient doorway
I can silently slip through
to dwell among the colours
and the spirits living there.
I can sing out
with a raven’s tongue
and fly above the night
to touch the fire
and dance on the moon
until the end of time
but the river
marks my beginning
and my end
I shall tell my story.
Michael Robinson Poet/Artist
For 24 years I was a light canoeman. I required but little sleep, but sometimes got less than I required. No portage was too long for me; all portages were alike. My end of the canoe never touched the ground ’til I saw the end of it. Fifty songs a day were nothing to me. I could carry, paddle, walk and sing with any man I ever saw… I pushed on – over rapids, over cascades, over chutes; all were the same to me. No water, no weather ever stopped the paddle or the song… There is no life so happy as a voyageur’s life; none so independent; no place where a man enjoys so much variety and freedom as in the Indian country. Huzza, huzza pour le pays sauvage! — anonymous coureur-de-bois quoted by a Hudson’s Bay Co. historian
The canoes rode well, not too high in the bows, but just enough. Peterborough Prospectors were made for the bush and for roaring rapids and waves. They embodies the best features of all canoes in the north. They were wide of beam with sufficient depth to take rough water, and their lines gave them maneuverability and grace. In them was the lore of centuries, of Indian craftsman who had dreamed and perfected the beauty of the birchbark, and of French voyageurs who also loved the feel of the paddle and the smooth glide of the canoe through the water. All this was taken by modern craftsman who – with glues , waterproof fillers and canvas, together with the accuracy of machine tooled ribs and thwarts , planking and gunwales – made a canoe of which Northmen might be well proud. – Sigurd Olson
Such vivid awareness is swiftly lost today, but if it can be held into adulthood it enriches and colors all we do. How often in the wild country of the north I have been aware of the spirits of the voyageurs, the shadowy forms that once roamed the rivers and lakes. Often at night it seemed I could hear ghostly songs coming across the water, the rhythmic dip of paddles and the swish of great canoes as they went by. - Sigurd Olson
Tu es mon compagnon de voyage! Je veux mourir dans mon canot Sur le tombeau, près du rivage, Vous renverserez mon canot
When I must leave the great river O bury me close to its wave And let my canoe and my paddle Be the only mark over my grave – from ‘Mon Canoe d’écorce’ (‘My Bark Canoe’) translated by Frank Oliver Call
From The Canadian Encyclopedia, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0008396, comes the following definition of the voyageur:
A voyageur was an adventurer who journeyed by canoe from Montréal to the interior to trade with Indians for furs. At the close of the 17th century, the term was applied to selected coureurs de bois, hired by Montréal merchants to arrange and sustain trading alliances with Indian bands. The term later included all fur trade participants: the merchant (bourgeois), his clerk (commis) and contracted servants (engagés). Today, the term “voyageur” suggests the romantic image of men paddling the canoes in the fur brigades which traversed much of the continent, living lives full of perilous adventure, gruelling labour and boisterous cameraderie.
Shooting the Rapids
Shooting the rapids, in a master canoe. Painting by Francis Ann Hopkins (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C2774f).
Voyageurs at Dawn
Painting by Frances Ann Hopkins. The overturned canoes make temporary shelters for the men (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-2773).
Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall
Oil on canvas by Frances Anne Hopkins, 1869 (courtesy Library and Archives Canada 1989-401-1X; C-2771).
From the now deleted website, Festival du Voyageur, http://www.sasked.gov.sk.ca/docs/francais/frcore/elem/progetud/PKK1-3.html:
The term Voyageur, a French word meaning “traveler”, was applied originally in Canadian history to all explorers and fur-traders. It came in time to be restricted to the men who operated the canoes and bateaux or fur-traders.
The French régime was responsible for the rise of this unique group of men. From the days of earliest exploration until 1763, a large part of what is now Canada and much of the rest of the continent west of the Appalachian Mountains was French Territory. In this vast region lived the several tribes of Indians with whom the French settlers around Québec and Montréal were not slow to barter furs. Castor (beaver), marten, renard (fox), lynx, ours (bear), loutre (otter),loup (wolf), muskrat, and many other furs were in great demand in Europe and Asia.
At first the Indians took their skins and furs down the St. Lawrence River to Québec and Montréal, whither annual fairs attracted them; but in time ambitious traders intercepted the natives and purchased their furs in the interior. TheVoyageurs may said to have been born. Farther and farther up the St. Lawrence, into Lakes Huron and Michigan they ventured. Erie and Ontario were explored, and finally Lake Superior. Trading posts were sprinkled from Montréal to the Rocky Mountains, from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, leaving behind them place names such as Detroit, Traverse City, Eau Claire, Duluth, St. Louis, Grand Portage, Presque Isle, Fort Macleod, Fort Kamloops, and Fort Quesnel.
As time went on, the French government found it necessary to establish rules and regulations for this lucrative business. Congres(licenses) to enter the Indian country were required; certain articles were prohibited in the trade, and only a specified number of traders would be licensed in one year.
Voyageurs formed a class as distinct in dress, customs, and traditions as sailors or lumberjacks. Short chemise (shirt), a red woolen tuque, a pair of deerskin moccasins, and jambières (leggings), held up by a ceinture fléchée (sash), and the azion (breech cloth) of the Indians, complemented by the inevitable pipe and sac-à-feu (beaded pouch) hanging from the sash.
One would expect Voyageurs to be men of heroic proportions, but usually they were not. The average Voyageur was five feet six inches in height. Had they been taller, they would have occupied too much precious space in the canot(canoe) already overloaded with provisions (cargo). But though the Voyageur was short, he was strong. He could paddle fifteen – yes, if necessary – eighteen hours per day for weeks on end and joke beside the campfire at the close of the day. He could carry from 250 to 400 pounds of merchandise on his back over rocky portages at a pace which made unburdened travelers pant for breath in their endeavour not to be left behind.
To aid paddling under conditions of difficulty or monotony, the Voyageurs sang. Songs were chosen whose rhythm was such that the paddles could keep time to the music. Ordinarily the steersman chose the song and gave the pitch. Sometimes he sang the stanza and the others joined in the chorus. In the parlance of his fellows he was a solo. Voyageurs were chosen partly with respect to their vocal abilities, and the effect of six to fourteen of them in full song was quite impressive. Of course, they sang in French – of the canoes, of their country, of their life, of their loves, of their church – sentimental romances, old ballads, humourous jingles, and lofty poems. These songs, many of which were inheritances from French Troubadours of the Medieval Ages, gave to their strokes rhythm and drive, performing in a way the function of the sea shanties for sailors.
To understand the Voyageur completely one must accompany him on one of his trips from Montréal into the pays d’en haut(upstairs country), as he termed the Northwest.
Any year between 1770 and 1840, Montréal Island was the scene of much commotion on the May morning set for the departure of a brigade of canots for the Northwest. As soon as the bourgeouis (agent) and come to terms with hisengage (employees), and engagements (contract) was signed. He agreed not to desert his master, not to give aid or encouragement to his master’s rivals during the period of his engagement. They were printed in French, with spaces left for the Voyageurs name, his home, the wages he was to receive, and any special provisions.
The Voyageur’s equipment consisted of a blanket, shirt, a pair of trousers, two hankerchiefs, several pounds of carrot tobacco (a carrot-shaped twist of tobacco). their goods were packed into pièces each weighing up to ninety pounds. Two of these pièces make an ordinary load for portaging, but stories were told of those who carried up to eight at once.
The route lay along the St. Lawrence to its confluence with the Ottawa and up that stream to the point where the Mattawa River joins it from the West. In this distance on la grand rivière there were eighteen portages. There were also approximately as many décharges: to these numerous falls and rapids were given names such as les chats (the cats), la chaudière (the kettle), les allumettes (the matches) and la calumet (the peace pipe).
On the second evening after the departure from Montréal, when the campement had been made in a pine-sheltered nook on the bank of the river, when souper had been eaten around the blazing fire, and whilst smoke from many pipes lay like a cloud against the dark forest trees, the call for une chanson was issued.
Reproduit sous l’autorisation du Festival du Voyageur inc.
There have been many different renditions of the voyageur songs over the years….some sung by camp groups around a campfire or on a canoe trip. The Canadian folk group, Tanglefoot, recorded two such songs which appeared on Canoesongs Volume I and II, http://www.tanglefootmusic.com/music/index.php:
La V’la M’amie
Traditional Voyaguer Song, on Canoesongs Volume I
Arrangement: Joe Grant, Steve Ritchie, Al Parrish and Bob Wagar
M’en revenant de la jolie Rochelle J’ai rencontre trois jolies demoiselles
Chorus La V’la M’amie que j’aime, j’aime, j’aime, La V’la M’amie que j’aime La V’la M’amie que j’aime, j’aime, j’aime, La V’la M’amie que j’aime
J’ai point choisi, mais j’ai pris la plus belle
J’l’y fis monter derriere moi sur ma selle
J’y fis cent lieu sans parler avec elle
Paddle Like Hell!
Traditional; arranged by Steve Ritchie, Sandra Swannell and Terry Young
Originally released as C’est l’aviron/V’là l’bon vent on Canoesongs Volume II, Portage Productions, April 2006
M’en revenant de la jolie Rochelle M’en revenant de la jolie Rochelle J’ai rencontré trois jolies demoiselles C’est l’aviron qui nous mène qui nous mène C’est l’aviron que nous mène en haut
J’ai rencontré trois jolies demoiselles J’ai rencontré trois jolies demoiselles J’ai point choisi mais j’ai pris la plus belle C’est l’aviron qui nous mène qui nous mène C’est l’aviron que nous mène en haut
J’ai point choisi mais j’ai pris la plus belle J’ai point choisi mais j’ai pris la plus belle J’l’y fis monter derrière moi sur ma selle C’est l’aviron qui nous mène qui nous mène C’est l’aviron que nous mène en haut
V’là l’bon vent v’là l’joli vent V’là l’bon vent m’amie m’appelle V’là l’bon vent v’là l’joli vent V’là l’bon vent m’amie m’attend
Derrière chez nous y’a-t-un étang Derrière chez nous y’a-t-un étang Trois beaux canards s’en vont baignant
Trois beaux canards s’en vont baignant Trois beaux canards s’en vont baignant Le fils du roi s’en va chassant
Le fils du roi s’en va chassant Le fils du roi s’en va chassant Avec son grand fusil d’argent
M’en revenant de la jolie Rochelle M’en revenant de la jolie Rochelle J’ai rencontré trois jolies demoiselles C’est l’aviron V’là l’bon vent v’là l’joli vent C’est l’aviron V’là l’bon vent v’là l’joli vent C’est l’aviron V’là l’bon vent v’là l’joli vent C’est l’aviron que nous mène en haut
Journey back in time with the Sons of the Voyageur. These engaging “edu-tainers” bring the fur trade era to life through songs of the voyageurs in a multimedia rear-projection slide presentation featuring close to 100 images. In their interactive musical theatre performance you will hear authentic fur trade era songs sung a capella in three and four part harmony, and be led from Montreal to Grand Portage as the lifestlye of the Voyageur is portrayed in authentic period costume. An extensive collection of paddling, working and playing songs form the basis of this exciting historical overview of the life and times of a voyageur.
The group consists of (left to right in the photo) Grant Herman, Tom Yost, Gary Hecimovich, Tom Draughton, and Ron Hobart.
The Sons of the Voyageur, Bien travailler
Sixteen chansons of the voyageurs, plus the Canadian National Anthem. Sung a capella by Les fils du voyageur, The Sons of the Voyageur.
Table of Contents
- Bien travailler
- C’est l’aviron
- J’ai tant dansé
- Charmant Rossignol
- Aux Illinois
- C’est dans la ville de Rouen
- Bonhomme, Bonhomme
- En montant la rivière
- Ma bouteille m’est fidèle
- Monsieur le curé
- Un voyageur errant
- J’ai cueille la belle rose
- Hier sur le pont d’Avignon
- Sur le pont d’Avignon
- Bon soir, mes amis!
- Chanson du voyageur
- O! Canada!
The Sons of the Voyageur, Canot d’Écorce
Twenty chansons including some of the most famous voyageur songs. Sung a capella by Les fils du voyageur, The Sons of the Voyageur.
Table of Contents
- Fringue! Fringue!
- A la claire fontaine
- Mariez moi
- I Went to the Market
- Dans mon canot d’écorce
- Gai lon la
- Luron luré
- Beti batan delum
- Ah! Si mon moine voulait dansé
- A Saint Malo
- En roulant ma boule
- La fille du Roi d’Espagne
- Envoyons d’l’avant
- V’la l’bon vent
- Blanche comme la neige
- Voici l’hiver arrivé
- Dans l’Mississippi
- Youpe! Youpe!
- La grande et la petite
James Raffan wrote in Bark, Skin and Cedar, of another musical group steeped in voyageur songs, describing them performing at a dance with a voyageur theme:
The band for the costumed occasion was called “Rubaboo”, after pemmican soup, and included a line-up of musicians who, in their real lives, were about as close to modern-day voyageurs as one can get. There was Peter Labor, who runs an outfitting and tour firm on Lake Superior; Jeremy Ward, a birchbark-canoe builder; and a third troubadour who, by association with the other two and in his ceinture flechee, was voyageur enough for me.
Rubaboo was a basic stew or porridge consumed by ‘coureurs des bois’ and ‘voyageurs’ (fur traders) and Metis people of North America, traditionally made of peas or corn (or both) with grease (bear or pork) and a thickening agent (bread or flour). Pemmican and maple sugar were also commonly added to the mixture. The musical group Rubaboo has performed at the Canadian Canoe Museum and other such venues. Their music is very much inspired by the voyageurs. As noted one member of this group was Jeremy Ward.
Jeremy Ward is the curator of the Canadian Canoe Museum. Jeremy has been involved with the museum for over a decade as a volunteer and staff member. He developed and carried out a number of significant projects and programs, perhaps the most notable of which was the research and construction of a 36’ birchbark canoe. Working before the public at the museum and leading a team of dedicated volunteers, Jeremy built an authentic, working example of the canot du maitre, the workhorse vehicle of the 18th and early 19th century fur trade in Canada. (This canoe along with Jeremy was featured in Ray Mears’ fine series The Northern Wilderness.) He has also designed and built the Preserving Skills Gallery and the Voyageur Encampment diorama.
The Canadian Canoe Museum (http://www.canoemuseum.ca/) includes exhibits depicting various aspects of the voyageur’s life and times, including much on the fur trade. Two educational programs offered for Grades 4/5/6/7/8 at the Canoe Museum are:
TRAPPERS AND TRADERS
Trappers and Traders takes students of the middle-school age into the heart of the fur trade through the exploration of various peoples and characters who participated in this sweeping element of Canadian history. Then through a series of costumed experiential role playing vignettes at our trading dock and voyageur encampment. Stories, terms, French language, navigation, post locations, trade items, portaging practice, period food and manipulation of various types of furs make this an engaging experience for all.
FUR TRADE GAME
Students take on the role of a trader with the Hudson’s Bay Company and explore the fur trade industry while trading information for furs and then furs for European goods. They experience the emotional and physical challenges of the fur trade while gaining accurate knowledge of what life really was like in that industry. It’s a real game!
Here are some photos of exhibits related to the fur trade and voyageurs from the Canadian Canoe Museum:
North Canoe, laden with trade goods.
Photos from Canadian Canoe Museum, http://www.canoemuseum.ca/index.php?option=com_phocagallery&view=category&id=1&Itemid=107.
Paddles up until later then….and remember each time we dip our paddles into the water that we echo the songs of past paddlers….including the voyageurs.
I have used a tumpline….as well as a yoke….the tumpline was good especially if no yoke present….many find carved yokes are not satisfactory for portaging….and prefer a tumpline on a centre thwart….
I have a yoke that is not so ‘carved’ on my favourite wood canvas canoe….and I manage quite well with just that….
Photos by yours truly showing detail of yoke in my favourite green canoe.
However my portages tend to be mostly short these days (old age I guess LOL LOL)….if I was doing longer and harder portages regularly I would be very tempted to use a tumpline….
Here are some opinions on using a tumpline to portage:
From How to Portage a Canoe !, is this (although not specific to wood canvas canoes):
First of all the author makes these comments:
Lashing paddles to make a yoke. More of a guillotine than a yoke, when you wipe out. You will wipe out someday…we all do. The lashing shifts around, wastes time setting up, and the canoe will pound your shoulders.
The carved yoke. The purpose of a carved wooden yoke is to sell canoes and its job is done once the canoe leaves the showroom. It is not carved for your shoulders, my shoulders, or the shoulders of anyone you know. Even if it were, it would only fit when the canoe is level. Like any yoke, it is designed to pound your shoulders and inflict pain within the first 100 meters. It is also intended to slice into your neck on your way downhill, and slide off going uphill. Your arm is meant to fall asleep as you grasp the gunwhale to keep the canoe in place. At least if you wipe out the canoe will roll off you.
Then he describes using a tumpline:
The Tump Strap
The weight of the canoe is ultimately supported by your spine, so why not direct the load there as directly as possible? This is why North American Indians first used a leather tump strap over their forehead, tied to either side of the centre thwart. The weight is off my shoulders. Most of the weight is directly down my spine and the thwart rides on my back, behind my shoulders. The tump acts as a leaf-spring to absorb shock as I trek down the trail, or run across during a canoe race. You can jog with this method! I use a felt hat to block mosquitos and protect my forehead from the tump’s force.
The author continues with details on his approach to portaging with a tump.
Camp Nominigue Setup
NW Woodsman Tump Pics
One Native Tump Method
Laying out; Clove Hitch to Yoke; Re-adjusted length
Grips lashed in; Blades secure; the final setup
Canoe tump portage
It’s the portage that makes travelling by canoe unique. – Bill Mason
….portaging is like hitting yourself on the head with a hammer: it feels so good when you stop. – Bill Mason
Anyone who says they like portaging is either a liar or crazy. – Bill Mason
Another prerequisite of good canoe country is short portages. Long portages, and by that I mean portages over half a mile in length, are rare and in the entire area there are on the regular routes perhaps not half a dozen of over a mile. On the average most of them are under a quarter-mile and many even shorter, thanks again to the damming of the river systems by the glacier. When you travel down any chain of lakes, your portages invariably follow the beds of the old creeks connecting them, now perhaps only seepages. If the water is high, it is often possible to paddle directly from one lake to another down the old preglacial channels or perhaps make a simple liftout over a separating ledge or gravel bar into the water above.
In the famous canoe country of Maine, portages are often several miles in length, a distance which makes possible means of transportation only by horse and wagon or even narrow-gauge railway. How much more adventurous and satisfying to throw on your canoe and walk quickly across a short woods trail to the next lake. Then you can enjoy to the full the sensation of being on your own and that in the wilds is half the joy of travelling. True, there are other lake regions to the north of us in Canada, where lakes and rivers are as plentiful, but nowhere will you find them with portages of the type found in the border country. The further north you go, the more muskeg you find and with more muskeg goes inevitably lower shores and swampy trails. Only here in the Quetico-Superior do you find them picturesque and beautiful, a welcome change to muscles weary with paddling, a pleasure rather than a chore. – Sigurd Olson, The Evolution of a Canoe Country, in Minnesota Conservationist, May 1935
May your portages be short and the breezes gentle on your back. - Anonymous
The worst portage ever is the next one! – Scott MacGregor
The thought of having to carry all your worldly possessions on your back has been cause to modify the quintessential Canadian adventure canoe trip in terms of how many portages will be encountered. Paddlers now have mutated their own aspirations of adventure by eliminating the “carry”-the fundamental and historical pith of the journey, and choose a route with the least amount of work involved. - from Grey Owl & Me by Hap Wilson
I have no desire for long portages. That’s like saying I desire traffic jams on the 401 when really all I really desire is to get home.
I have a desire for seclusion, for remoteness, stillness and silence, for portability, speed (when …it’s needed), and lightness. The mantra is “Go quietly, Carry little.” As you know, between Wellesley and Sudbury, often it is the long portages that take you to those places. I can go to Algonquin during peak season and not see another human for days, and I can do this simply by using portages that discourage most–and this is right off of Hwy 60.
And, although portages can be analogous to root-canal, they somehow bring depth and character to the trip, while you’re there, but also in memory. Like a pilgrimage, the physical strain wears down the body and opens it up to and is receptive to the solitude and even transcendence that the portage has brought you to.
Portages also represent something that runs counter to our culture of drive-thru convenience and auto-gratification. There is reward thinking about and completing a portage. At the end of the portage I gulp down the water and it may occur to me that I did not click a button to get this far. My body is almost broken, but the air is sweet. Even outside of the canoe world, there is a link between physical work and gratification and contentment. The link, however, is laid bare on some canoe trips.
In one of Olson’s books, he describes his favourite lake, the perfect lake in his mind, a lake that in the past he had spent days portaging and paddling to get to. One summer he decides to fly in, but quickly concludes that his experience of the lake and the area is not the same, is not as deep and meaningful. He is disconnected. To experience or to feel connected to his surroundings, he felt he needed the portages, the travel, the miles of paddling. The meaning of the place is not merely in the physical location, but in the journey.
Olson reminiscences fondly for both lakes and portages:
“I can still see so many of the lakes (whose shores and hills are forever changed after the storm): Saganaga, Red Rock, Alpine, Knife, Kekekabic, Eddy, Ogishkemunicie, Agamok, Gabimichigami, Sea Gull. It seems like yesterday… the early-morning bear on Brant Lake, that long portage from Hanson Lake to the South Arm of the Knife, that perfect campsite on Jasper Lake…”
I don’t like portages, but they get me to where I want to go. And out there, it seems that while I don’t like them, they are the tough-lovers of canoe trip: they know better than me in preparing me for the place I am trying to get to both physically and emotionally. – Paul Hoy
It not just about the trail one travels, as much as how one gets there….just as life is not so much about the destination as the journey….even with the portages LOL LOL. And when one gets to travel by canoe through wilderness, then one reconnects with the land….with the water….with the rocks and trees….with the whole environment….and maybe also with one’s self.
Paddles up until later then….and remember that life is not about its destination, but its journey….the journey might be tough, long and winding….but it’s sure worth the walk….or the paddle at least LOL LOL. – Mike Ormsby
As you near the far shore’s portage, you feel fresh, ready to carry the canoe Over the short yet rocky trail into the next small but distant lake Perhaps even to a welcoming campsite under the pines Settling down for the night under sparkling stars Maybe even catching glimpse of a shooting star or the Northern Lights
The cedar and canvas canoe rolls up onto your shoulders Not too much weight, a bit more than you remember from last year Just enough to let you know you’re still alive You double the carry over so you don’t overdo it Or maybe it’s just to take more time to see where you’re at
As you rest by a waterfall beside the path, you reflect on the day….on what lies ahead Still a few hours left before the sun sets….should be a full moon tonight Maybe you’ll hear the howl of a wolf…. the echo of a loon from a nearby lake You feel good….at ease….at home….and far from being alone The canoe and you have journeyed far…and still have farther yet to go
For each trip takes you away from the daily grind With each paddle stroke, there is definitely a greater peace of mind So you pick up your pack, walking the last of the portage Upon arrival, you launch the canoe onto the shining waters You and the canoe dance on into the remaining daylight – Mike Ormsby
Paddles up until later….and remember as the cedar and canvas canoe rolls up onto your shoulders: hopefully there is not too much weight….maybe a bit more than you remember from last year….but just enough to let you know you’re still alive….
Next time you portage, think of using a tumpline to ease the portage of your wood canvas canoe….maybe even with any canoe….
And think of where portages can lead you….certainly not just away from the crowds….
There is usually discussion about tripping with a wood canvas canoe.
I thought I would post on some of those thoughts here….with some quotes from others:
I have always believed that the Canadian Wooden canoe is one of the greatest achievements of mankind. There is nothing that is so aesthetically pleasing and yet so functional and versatile as the canoe. It is as much a part of our land as the rocks and trees and lakes and rivers. It takes as much skill and artistry to paddle a canoe well as it does to paint a picture of it. In this painting I wanted to capture the look and feel of a well-worn travelling companion. There’s hardly a rib or plank that isn’t cracked but after a quarter of a century it’s still wearing its original canvas. – Bill Mason, Canoescapes (NOTE: This was in reference to a painting done by Bill Mason of his favourite Chestnut canoe.)
Although in later life Bill vehemently defended the virtues of his beloved Chestnut – his personal fleet included three, a 16′ Pal, a 16′ Prospector and a 17′ Cruiser – he could have been paddling any number of canvas-covered canoes built in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. In fact, there were on the market, for all intents and purposes, dozens of nearly identical models, made by various manufacturers in the United States and Canada, many of which had the model name “Prospector.” But, even as a class or type of canvas-covered canoe, the Prospector that became his favourite was entirely consistent with Bill and his view of the world. It was mostly made of natural materials – steamed white cedar ribs and planking; brass tacks and screws; cotton-canvas skin; and white ash or oak seats, thwarts and gunwales. It was solid; it was durable; it could be repaired in the field; and it moved quietly and responsively in all types of water. – James Raffan, Fire In The Bones
Wood and canvas canoes are strong, seaworthy, exceptionally responsive to the paddle and soothing to the human spirit – Hugh Stewart, master canoe builder, Headwater Canoes
Going down a river or crossing a lake in anything but wood-canvas is like floating on a linoleum rug. That’s just how it looks when you glance inside one of those types of canoes and watch the bottom flex and shimmer with the water. Whereas, in any wood-canvas canoe you have all these beautiful rich colors of the cedar planking and ribs, hardwood gunwales and decks, and caned seats. Even the smells are nice and directly relate to the environment you are traveling through. - Jack Hurley, canoebuilder
I suppose there would always be an argument for the different types of materials and canoe designs, but the wood-canvas canoe is one generation away from the birchbark canoe and was made for working and transporting people through the wilderness. It was designed and made out of materials that would stand up to miles and miles of flatwater and whitewater and portaging through very rugged and unexplored terrain. As a trip leader with kids and adults, I have safely traveled across many lakes in a wood-canvas canoe in conditions where other experienced paddlers in the new-design boats were either windbound or took on water during the crossings. - Jim Spencer, canoebuilder.
Nothing feels like a cedar-strip canvas canoe – Omer Stringer, a confirmed traditionalist
I use my wood canvas canoe to trip….and I find it interesting to have many a conversation around my personal preference of a wood-canvas canoe….and especially how many thought that such a canoe was lovely to look at….probably even beautiful to paddle…..but many were surprised I would use such a canoe for trips. Comments like: “Isn’t it too heavy? How do you ever portage it?”….“But it’s too fragile for canoe tripping”….“There’s a lot of work to those canoes, isn’t there? Don’t you have to revarnish the wood every year, repair or recanvas every year?”…. “What happens if it gets damaged out on the trail?”….“Won’t that slow you down?”….“Well you wouldn’t run rapids with it”.
I remember being at the Wilderness Canoe Symposium and hearing about journeys in wood canoes through the Arctic….“Sure but that’s all they had then” ….yes, even bark canoes had been used by earlier travellers or explorers (like David Thompson)….but wood-canvas canoes still have their place in wilderness travel just as they did when they were the main mode of travel by explorers, trappers, surveyors or prospectors, not to mention so many youth camps. Maybe wood-canvas canoes might even have their advantages over modern fiberglas, Kevlar or Royalex canoes.
On his Headwaters Canoes website, Hugh expounds his reasons for why a wood-canvas canoe, http://www.headwaterscanoes.ca/outlook.html:
We build canoes which are strong, seaworthy, exceptionally responsive to the paddle and soothing for the human spirit. Our canoes are for people to use seriously, whether paddling at the cottage, or travelling remote rivers and lakes of the north. The wood is carefully selected and our canoes well finished. The emphasis is on durability and performance rather than on “chippendale” finishes. We do not subscribe to the “fragility myth” which suggests that wood canvas canoes are too delicate to be used in remote, rugged country. With proper skills, you can travel pretty well anywhere in a wood canvas canoe. All of the intriguing routes and legendary canoe trips in Canada were done in so called fragile canoes. Although traditional canoes have been imitated in many synthetic materials, (prospector, for example) the responsiveness and efficiencies of the original designs are often lost. These ‘ high-tech’ canoes appear attractive because they are vaunted to be impervious to damage. Yet, many do not function well when you line, pole or paddle long distances with heavy loads. The concept and the magic of a canvas covered canoe is that it can have 2,3, or even 4 new outer skins in its lifetime. Since gluing and laminating are not utilized, any broken parts can be replaced at the time of recanvassing. These canoes are exceptionally recyclable and ultimately, except for screws, tacks and brass, biodegradable. Wood canvas canoes are considered by many to be “too heavy” when portaging. Using a tumpline, a technology given to us by aboriginal peoples, much of the load can be transferred from the shoulders to the head. We have also developed various ways through which a canoe can be made lighter upon request. These include thinner ribs, lightweight seats, and light canvas filled with butyrate (airplane dope).
Camp Temagami is one camp that still trip using wood canvas canoes….and they explain why they use wood canvas canoes in http://www.camptemagami.com/about_us/article.php?id=4:
….“You don’t take those on whitewater trips, do you?” is one response. “A little bit extravagant, don’t you think?” is another. These two reactions illustrate the two biggest myths concerning wood/canvas canoes: they are fragile, and they are so precious that their use should be somehow limited.
We use wood/canvas canoes for lots of reasons. The first is functional. Simply put, we think they work better for what we do than anything else out there. How do we make that choice? Well, a wilderness canoe must be big enough to carry a load and stay dry in rough weather; it must paddle easily enough to move well on lakes, but it must also be agile enough to respond well in whitewater; it must be rugged enough to stand up to weeks of hard use, and if broken, must be repairable in the field….
….The idea that wooden canoes are fragile is simply wrong. I have put my canoes through some gruelling tests and every time have been surprised by how they have responded. People such as our builder, Hugh Stewart, who has considerably more time and miles in them than I, and in tough, rugged conditions, have the same view. On trips we have shared with paddlers of plastic boats, we have found ourselves subjecting our canoes to more wear and tear (and, incidentally, running bigger rapids) than fellow travelers in lightweight Kevlar canoes. In 2002, two of our wooden canoes were “wrapped” on river trips – a situation I had always thought would end in kindling. (By the way, that was the first time we’ve ever “wrapped” a canoe.) Both canoes survived and were paddleable. In the same summer, an acquaintance of mine put an 8″ tear in an ABS canoe (an injury deemed ‘paddler abuse’, not ‘manufacturing defect’ by the builder). That same year we retired one of our original ABS Old Town Trippers, bought for the 1983 season. We could probably squeeze some more life out of it, but it had begun to leak in a creased area we repaired with putty. Some of our wooden canoes have twenty-five or thirty years on them, and could continue to be repaired. As though there were any need, I hope these examples banish the myth that wooden canoes are fragile. I now think they are more reliable than anything but layered ABS. Although wood/canvas canoes paddle admirably and are durable and repairable, many people are intimidated by their weight. Poorly constructed wood canoes are indeed heavy, and will get appreciably heavier over the course of a trip. Well built canoes are less variable. As well, wooden canoes are no heavier than comparable ABS ones. Perhaps Kevlar is lighter, but it is far less durable. In a trade off between weight and durability, wilderness trippers will always choose ruggedness, especially when good technique on the portage trail can make a load more bearable. What of other materials? The camp has a range of synthetic canoes; how do these stack up and why don’t we have more? It’s true that we need rugged canoes. Layered ABS boats (like the Old Town Tripper and Camper that we use) are virtually indestructible, but their bottoms are flat and flexible, making them slow on lakes and skittish in whitewater. They are also just as heavy as wood. We carry a few for situations where we expect more than normal wear and tear, but, all things being equal, they don’t perform as well. Kevlar and other ABS constructions can be moulded to any desirable shape, but neither is as durable as wood/canvas. Our Nova Craft canoes (ABS with a foam core) have been a disappointment….
I have talked about this subject in the past….maybe even bored many of you with my near obsession with wood canvas canoes (but as I’m stated here before: “WOODn’t you rather have a WOOD canoe?”)….wood canvas canoes though are not just ‘museum pieces’ (although the Canadian Canoe Museum has a great selection of wood canvas canoes)….they are meant to be used….the proposed trip by the Keewaydin Expedition 2012 certainly supports that….wood canvas canoes are not for everybody….but are also not just for ‘die-hard traditionalists’ or ‘wood canoe fanatics’ like myself….
Paddles up until later then….and if you haven’t already….I hope you get a chance to paddle a wood canvas canoe one day….and maybe even take a trip with one….
I have been rereading Building The Maine Guide Canoe By Jerry Stelmok (this is a direct link to the online book from Google.com). This was one of the first books on building wood canvas canoes….it was followed by The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide To Its History, Construction, Restoration, And Maintenance that was written by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow.
Building The Maine Guide Canoe had a foreword by Clint Tuttle, a canoe builder and instructor of wooden boatbuilding. Clint shared his thoughts on wood canvas canoes, which included the following:
A canoe must fill many unusual requirements: it must be light and portable, yet strong and seaworthy, and it must embody practical qualities for paddle, pole, and sail. It must reject every superfluity of design and construction, yet satisfy the tastes of its owner and safely carry heavy dunnage through unpredictable conditions. These demands will be met by a builder both meticulous and clever – one who, through resourcefulness and dedicated craftsmanship, can build a canoe that will be an everlasting source of joy. It will provide pleasures that continue throughout the four seasons: loving labors that extend from spring refit through a summer and autumn of hard work and play, and on through the winter layup period of redesigning, building, and improving the canoe and its auxiliary gear.
I hope the author’s text….will impart….a proper understanding of of the creation of simple, graceful canoes. It is sad that the practical knowledge and technical skill necessary to build them has remained virtually uncommunicated. One can only hope that revealing a part of this information will result in a clearer understanding of the special bond between the traditionalist canoeist and the wood-canvas canoe. For indeed, a canoe reflects the spirit of its builder and user that develops a character more akin to a living thing than to a mere object of possession….
Check out the preface in Building The Maine Guide Canoe By Jerry Stelmok (this link will take you to an online version of the book)….Jerry weaves an interesting ‘tale’ of the Cosmic Planetwright and how the wood canvas canoe came to be….and was ‘lost’, especially with the manufacturing of aluminum and sythetic canoes….even if for only a while. This has to be read to be fully understood….merely quoting from the preface wouldn’t do it justice. I truly love Jerry’s bend on wood canvas canoes.
The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide To Its History, Construction, Restoration, And Maintenance by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow picks up on this theme. This book is described in a review from The Essential Wood Canoe Enthusiasts Library, which also makes up part of A Canoe Reading List, found elsewhere on this blog:
The essential reference for anyone interested in wood canoes. Mainly a building guide for new canoes, also covers restoration, history, and capsule summeries of selected manufacturers. Includes plans for Rollin’s Cheemaun, Atkinson Traveler and Whisper canoes.
The Wood and Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide To Its History, Construction, Restoration, And Maintenance by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow is part history, part manual for construction, restoration and maintenance of this classic and lovely type of canoe. The book does contain complete plans for building various models of canoes….but more than anything the fine drawings, photos and writing make it the last word on the subject of wood canvas canoes.
The introduction starts off with the following:
Time spent in a wooden canoe of fine lines and able handling qualities is intoxicating. Restoring vintage canoes or building such craft from scratch can be consuming. It will ruin a man or a woman for any other work. This is not to dismiss all canoe builders as rapscallions, curmudgeons, or reprobates. But in the majority of cases there are the symptoms of an addiction, or at least a suspension of common sense where canoes are concerned. We are kin to the hard-bitten trout fisherman who stands out in the wind and rain breaking ice from the guides of his fly rod for a chance at an early season rainbow, or the railbird unable to resist the summons of the bugle, knowing it will be followed by the starting gun which will launch the thoroughbreds from the gates. We all know better, yet we simply can’t help ourselves. Why else would we devote our most productive years attempting to revive an industry that has not known real prosperity since before the Great Depression? Today, at long last, wooden canoes and their construction are enjoying a quiet renaissance, and this only encourages us, adding fuel to our dreams.
As the introduction concludes, the authors hope to impart a small portion of the essence of these wonderful craft that goes beyond cedar and canvas, tacks and bolts – the enchantment of boats so well adapted to the moods of our waterways, they seem a part of them.
These two books are important additions to any paddler’s library….especially if you love wood canvas canoes. Check them out.
Paddles up until later then.
Revisting the wolf as a teacher….for my favourite Ma’iingan (wolf) kwe who has taught me much already….and has more yet to teach….
“Perhaps it was the eyes of the wolf, measured, calm, knowing. Perhaps it was the intense sense of family. After all, wolves mate for life, are loyal partners, create hunting communities and demonstrate affectionate patience in pup rearing. Perhaps it was the rigid heirarchy of the packs. Each wolf had a place in the whole and yet retained his individual personality. Perhaps it was their great, romping, ridiculous sense of fun. Perhaps it was some celestial link with thw winter night skies that prompted the wolf to lay his song on the icy air. For the Native people who lived with the wolves, and the wolves once ranged from the Arctic to the sub-tropics, there was much to learn from them. Is it any wonder that the myths of many tribes characterise the wolves not as killers but as teachers?” - Unknown
“To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul” – Native proverb.
This is the description of David Beaucage Johnson‘s painting ‘Song For The Night Sun’:
“People often wonder why wolves howl at the moon. In this painting, the wolves are shown embracing the moon and offering song to it. The songs are in gratitude for providing light for their night hunts. The white at the bottom is the Teaching Rock, a sacred place north of Stoney Lake in the Kawartha Lakes region of central Ontario. At this sacred place, there are images carved onto a gleaming white rock. Contained in the symbols on the rock are the teachings of the Medicine Wheel and the Spirit World. Night Sun is the English translation for the Ojibwe word for moon. To the Ojibway, the wolf is known as the teacher and it is said that we can learn much by watching the wolf.” (From Whetung Ojibwa Crafts and Art Gallery: David Beaucage Johnson)
(NOTE: The Teaching Rock is found in the Petroglyphs Provincial Park just north of Curve Lake First Nations.)
On Facebook once there was a photo with a Native teaching on Two Wolves….and life….it is imprinted on a photo of two wolves with a man in the foreground….in this version it is a Cherokee grandfather teaching his grandson about life….but I had heard it before as a Native elder talking to a young man….and I thought of a picture done by Norman Knott entitled Howling Wolf….so I decided to redo the story as I knew it….here is my version of TWO WOLVES:
Adapted from photo of Howling Wolf, limited print by Norman Knott; from http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierres_art/471249524/.
In case you have trouble reading the story above:
An Native elder is asked by a young man about life.
“A fight is going on inside of me,” the elder said, “A terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued: “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside of you – and inside of each other person, too.”
The young man then asked the elder: “Which wolf will win?”
The elder simply replied: “The one you feed.”
I have had the opportunity to take solo canoe trips….to get away from the crowds….or to escape from the daily grind that I might have found myself trapped into….to re-energize my batteries so to speak….but more than anything just to be on my own….to be quiet and listen to all the natural world around me has to offer.
I must admit though that lying alone in my sleeping bag and hearing for the first time the wail of a wolf howling through the otherwise still night did send shivers up and down my spine….and caused me to pull the sleeping bag up tighter around myself….until I realized that I was not only fairly safe where I was….but that I was also the “intruder” in this wild place. I ended up getting up and sitting next to a low campfire….partly I guess because it further added to my own personal sense of “safety”….but also so I could hope to better hear the chorus of the wolves calling. After a while I found myself throwing back by own head to “howl” in my own best attempt at immitating a wolf….and was more than pleased that I was eventually able to elicit a response from the nearby wolf pack. Of course I was never really sure what they were actually saying at the time….perhaps the wolves were wondering what stupid human being could be trying to mimic their calls.
Wolves played a big part in the ecosystem and delicate balance of the land and the First Nations recognized that role. The Wolf also represents the traditional importance of family to First Nations. Many First Nations credit the wolves in teaching them about the importance of family and how to hunt and forage for food. In other words, they were credited with the livelihood of the tribe. Many tribes also believed that wolves were spiritual beings that could impart magical powers.
Natives have often held the Wolf in high esteem in their culture and traditions. They are seen as a sacred animal and often featured significantly in ancient songs, dances and stories of many First Nations. The Wolf is given a revered and welcomed role in many First Nations.
The Wolf represents loyalty, strong family ties, good communication, education, understanding and intelligence. Of all land animals the Wolf has the strongest supernatural powers and is the most accomplished hunter. The Wolf is a very social and communicative creature, he uses body movement, touch and sound. The First Nations had great respect for Wolves because of their alikeness. Both Natives and Wolves hunt, gather, defend and even educate their tribe or pack. The Wolf has always been respected as a very family oriented animal because he mates for life, watches and protects his young until they are old enough to be independent and protects the elders.
If direction and purpose are lacking in life, when clarity and persistence are needed, the steadfast determination of the Wolf can overcome fear, indecision and confusion. Wolves are fierce, loyal, independent and well able to offer support on the most challenging healing journey.
The Wolf fulfilled several roles for the Native: the Wolf was a powerful and mysterious animal, and was so perceived by many First Nations; and the Wolf was a medicine animal, identified often with a particular individual or clan.
At a band level, the attraction to the Wolf was strong, because the Wolf lived in a way that also made the band strong. He provided food for all, including the old and sick members of the pack. He saw to the education of his children. He defended his territory against other wolves.
At a personal level, those for whom the Wolf was a medicine animal or personal totem understood the qualities that made the wolf stand out as an individual. For example, his stamina, ability to track well and go without food for long periods.
The definition and defense of home range was as important to the First Nations as it was to the wolf. The boundaries of most First Nations’ territories, like those of wolves, changed with the movement of game herds, the size of the band and the time of year. The band, like the pack, broke up at certain times of the year and joined together later to hunt more efficiently. Both the wolf and the Native hunted the same type of game and moved their families to follow specific herds. Deer sought security from Native hunters by moving into the border area between warring tribes, where hunters were least likely to show up, just as they did between wolf territories, where wolves spent the least time hunting.
It’s not surprising that the Native saw the wolf as a significant animal. Both were hunters upon which the survival of their families depended. The Native was very aware of the many ways in which his own life resembled those of the wolf. The wolf hunted for himself and for his family. The wolf defended his pack against enemy attack, as the Indian defended his tribe. He had to be strong as an individual and for the good of the pack. It was an efficient system of survival and in the eyes of the Indian, no animal did this as well as the wolf. The Native worked to be as well integrated in his own environment as was the wolf in his.
The hunter did not see the wolf as an enemy or competitor, or as something less than himself. His perception of the wolf was a realistic assessment of the wolf’s ability to survive and thrive, to be in balance with the world they shared. He respected the wolf’s patience and perseverance, which were his most effective hunting weapons. To say he hunted like a wolf was the highest compliment, just as to say a warrior fought like the wolf was high praise.
Chief Dan George belonged to the Wolf Clan and his lament to the wolf as a symbol of the vanishing wilderness and traditions of his people has become famous:
“All of a sudden I realized why no wolves had heard my sacred song. There were none left! My heart filled with tears. I could no longer give my grandson faith in the past, our past.”
The wolf is a wilderness species that cannot survive the encroachment of its habitat by development and urban sprawl.
“Wolf is the Grand Teacher. Wolf is the sage, who after many winters upon the sacred path and seeking the ways of wisdom, returns to share new knowledge with the tribe. Wolf is both the radical and the traditional in the same breath. When the Wolf walks by you-you will remember.” - Robert Ghost Wolf
“The caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf who keeps the caribou strong.” – Keewation (Inuit) Proverb
This was the basis for a painting I did recently entitled “Interdependence“….the moose cannot survive without the wolf and the wolf cannot survive without the moose….not enough wolves and the moose population can explode, causing lack of food leading to sick and dying moose….not enough moose the wolf has little to eat….so as in life there is balance:
“You ought to follow the example of the wolf. Even when he is surprised and runs for his life, he will pause and take one more look at you before he enters his final retreat. So you must take a second look at everything you see.” - Ohiyesa (Dr. Charles A. Eastman, Sioux)
So wolves have been long regarded by First Nations as teachers or pathfinders. Wolves are fiercely loyal to their mates, and have a strong sense of family while maintaining individualism.
Wolves are probably the most misunderstood of the wild animals. Tales of cold bloodedness abound, in spite of the their friendly, social and intelligent traits. They are truly free spirits even though their packs are highly organized. They seem to go out of their way to avoid a fight. One is rarely necessary when a shift in posture, a growl, or a glance gets the point across quite readily.
I do believe the wolf is a teacher….and I look forward to learning much from a certain wolf I know….
Wolf Credo: Respect the elders….Teach the young…Cooperate with the pack Play when you can…Hunt when you must…Rest in between Share your affections…Voice your feelings…Leave your mark.
It is said that the First Nations and the wolf have come to be alike….both mate for life….both have a clan system and a tribe….both had their land taken from them….both were hunted for their hair…..and both were pushed close to destruction….perhaps Native people can look to the wolf for their future as a people….the wolf is beginning to return to this land….perhaps First Nations will also cease to be seen as a “Vanishing Peoples”….and maybe emerge to lead the way back to natural living and respect for our Mother Earth….
From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_David_Thoreau, comes this brief description of who Henry David Thoreau was:
Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.
Thoreau’s books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions were his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern day environmentalism.
On a lazy day of August, I thought I would post some of Thoreau’s quotes:
I sailed up a river with a pleasant wind, New lands, new people, and new thoughts to find; Many fair reaches and headlands appeared, And many dangers were there to be feared; But when I remember where I have been, And the fair landscapes that I have seen, Thou seemest the only permanent shore, The cape never rounded, nor wandered o’er.” – Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Wherever there is a channel for water, there is a road for the canoe. – Henry David Thoreau
Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing. – Henry David Thoreau
I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life; living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartanlike as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness out of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience. – Henry David Thoreau
A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. – Henry David Thoreau, from the chapter “The Ponds” in Walden
Generally speaking, a howling wilderness does not howl: it is the imagination of the traveler that does the howling. - Henry David Thoreau
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves – Henry David Thoreau
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads – Henry David Thoreau
All good things are wild, and free – Henry David Thoreau
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. – Henry David Thoreau
This curious world we inhabit…is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used. – Henry David Thoreau
In wildness is the preservation of the world. – Henry David Thoreau
We need the tonic of wildness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground. – Henry David Thoreau
Welcome to the Community Canoe crowdfunding campaign
My name is Ranger Aidan, and I’d like to put a Community Canoe Garden in your neighbourhood!
What’s a Community Canoe Garden? As part of the David Suzuki Foundation’s Homegrown National Park Project, our plan is to take old canoes that are no longer seaworthy and repurpose them as bee-friendly garden planters.
The Community Canoe Gardens will be installed in parks along the corridor of the old Garrison Creek. And they will be filled with native flowers that are really good for birds, bees and butterflies. Listen to our interview on CBC’s Metro Morning.
Our goal is to raise $5,000 so we can establish a network of 12 Community Canoe gardens. This money will be used to buy old canoes, plus soil, plants, mulch and other materials.
And we need your help. Not only will you be helping to change the landscape of the city, check out the amazing perks for your generous support (see some pictures below)!
Why are we doing this?
Well, we love canoes. And not only do they look awesome filled with native plants and flowers, the Community Canoe Garden network will support local bees, butterflies and other pollinators that help ensure our fruits, veggies and herbs are abundant and healthy.
Please join us in this project. Together, we can build the Community Canoe Network. And please note that the Community Canoe Garden Network is just the beginning. Working with residents, community groups, the city, and local paddling businesses, our grand ambition is to establish Community Canoe as a service similar to bixi bikes, but for canoes. We want to help make it easier for residents to explore Toronto’s waterfront and waterways. Imagine adding a paddle down the Humber or the Don to your commute, or taking a canoe trip along the waterfront!
Please help bring canoes back to the city by showing your support for Community Canoe – a “park service” of the Homegrown National Park.
Ranger Aidan Homegrown National Park Project
Video footage provided by Greg Francis and Marianna Angotti
Check out pictures of some of the rewards:
Good News For a Change book by David Suzuki & Holly Dressel:
The Nature Principle book by Richard Louv:
Plant Guide by the David Suzuki Foundation:
A virtual high five:
One half community canoe which will become a garden:
First, the canoe connects us to Ma-ka-ina, Mother Earth, from which we came and to which we must all return. Councils of those who were here before us revered the earth and also the wind, the rain, and the sun – all essential to life. It was from that remarkable blending of forces that mankind was allowed to create the canoe and its several kindred forms.
From the birch tree, came the bark; from the spruce, pliant roots; from the cedar, the ribs, planking and gunwales; and from a variety of natural sources, the sealing pitch.
In other habitats, great trees became dugout canoes while, in treeless areas, skin, bone and sinew were ingeniously fused into kayaks. Form followed function, and manufacture was linked to available materials. Even the modern canoe, although several steps away from the first, is still a product of the earth. We have a great debt to those who experienced the land before us. No wonder that, in many parts of the world, the people thank the land for allowing its spirit to be transferred to the canoe.
Hand-propelled watercraft still allow us to pursue the elemental quest for tranquility, beauty, peace, freedom and cleaness. It is good to be conveyed quietly, gracefully, to natural rhythms….
The canoe especially connects us to rivers – timeless pathways of the wilderness. Wave after wave of users have passed by. Gentle rains falling onto a paddler evaporate skyward to form clouds and then to descend on a fellow traveller, perhaps in another era. Like wise, our waterways contain something of the substance of our ancestors. The canoe connects us to the spirit of these people who walk beside us as we glide silently along riverine trails. – Kirk Wipper, in foreword to Canexus (also published as “Connections” in Stories From The Bow Seat: The Wisdom And Waggery Of Canoe Tripping by Don Standfield and Liz Lundell, p. 15)
“The traditional way of education was by example, experience, and storytelling. The first principle involved was total respect and acceptance of the one to be taught, and that learning was a continuous process from birth to death. It was total continuity without interruption. Its nature was like a fountain that gives many colours and flavours of water and that whoever chose could drink as much or as little as they wanted to whenever they wished. The teaching strictly adhered to the sacredness of life whether of humans, animals or plants.” - Art Solomon, Anishinaabe Elder
“Native people feel they have lost something and they want it back. It doesn’t necessarily mean that when I talk about going back over there, that we stay over there. You have to get those teachings and pick up those things that we left along the way. The drums, the language, the songs are all scattered around. We need to bring them into this time. You need these things to teach your children today in order to give them that direction and good feelings about who they are. They need to know where they are going. It doesn’t mean we have to go back to living in teepees. You can be a traditionalist and be comfortable wherever you are.” - Art Solomon, Anishinaabe Elder
Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality. We feel that the road to technology…. has led modern society to a damaged and seared earth. Could it be that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction, and that the road to spirituality represents the slower path that the traditional native people have traveled and are now seeking again? The earth is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still growing there. - William Commanda, Mamiwinini, Canada, 1991
As William Commanda, Elder from the Algonquian Nation and keeper of the sacred wampum belts, said in the opening of his June 10, 2010 message to the Algonquins of the Ottawa River Watershed:
I have been blessed by the guidance and strength of the Sacred Wampum Belts of our Anisninabe ancestors to assert their presence over the past forty years, and many, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, have been awakened to our history, wisdom and relevance in these times of unprecedented global uncertainty and chaos. But in our traditional way of thinking, the individual is only a cornerstone of a community, and we must bring our individual strengths together to recreate the strong communities we developed in the past. I have often said that Indigenous Peoples are the only ones who have never gone elsewhere to make new homes, we are at home here; we maintain the sacred unbreakable connections with Mother Earth, and we have to assert this reality with even greater vigour and perseverance in these times of war and strife, climate change and environmental crisis. Without doubt, Mother Earth’s voice is loud now, and she is calling urgently to draw us back to her. We have a crucial role to play in restoring balance on Earth, and our Earth based and cyclical ways of thinking have a vitally important role to play in human evolution and growth. We can all see the huge deficit and spiritually bankrupt legacy looming in the global landscape.
Let me finally add these words of William Commanda: “we need this old knowledge in our teachings to get through this new age”.
Epic Canoe Trip
From July 27 – August 9
A focal point of the year-long educational and advocacy Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign will be a symbolic “enactment” of the treaty in the summer of 2013. We will bring the treaty to life with Haudenosaunee and other Native People paddling side-by-side with allies and supporters down the Hudson River from Albany to New York City. These two equal, but separate rows will demonstrate the wise, yet simple concept of the Two Row Wampum Treaty.
Itinerary and Map
Our itinerary is set for the 13 day trip down the Hudson River this summer. See below or download the Schedule (pdf) At each of our stops, we will need logistical assistance from local supporters. Below the list of ideas for ways to provide support is the current, nearly-final itinerary. If you can help at a particular location, please contact the appropriate person directly. If you have more general ideas/suggestions/offers of assistance, you can contact Andy Mager or Lena Duby. We will generally be leaving each morning as the tide is going out which will typically be between 10 and 11 daily.
Ways You can Help
- Provide and/or arrange for housing for people who aren’t able to camp
- Identify potential overflow camping areas if we fill up our spots
- Assist with on the ground logistical support, setting up for events/camping, directing people to park, running errands, setting up signs, be part of our “leave no trace” cleanup crew…
- Raise funds to help support the journey
- Solicit donations of food from area stores and farmers
- Bring food and/or arrange for others to do so to our breakfast, lunch or dinner spots
- Assist with transport/pickup of new people joining us, help identify places where cars can be left
- Help with publicity and media relations, both before and during the event. Contact Lindsay Speer.
- Help organize an event for us in your community when we arrive, including seeking support and welcome from local leaders
- Help fill two specific requests: A pontoon boat or other boat with a flat deck -and a captain!- to assist the media team, and a solar device-charging station. (Keeping media team’s computers, cell phones, and cameras charged is a key logistical challenge)
Saturday, July 27 Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign Send-off Celebration Festival* Festival @ Russell Sage College, 65 1st St, Troy, NY (map) 10 am – 5 pm Key contact: Kevin Nephew or Lori Quigley Camping Site: River St. and Division St. Troy, NY (map)
Sunday, July 28: From Rensselaer Boat Launch (Gather 10 am, launch 10:45) Launch @ Rensselaer Boat Launch 20 Forbes Ave, Rensselaer, NY (map) Lunch @ Henry Hudson Park, Barent Winne Rd & Lyons Rd, Selkirk, NY 12158 (map) Land @ Schodack Island State Park, 1 Schodack Island Way, Schodack Landing, NY (map) (arrive 4:30 pm) Camping site @ Schodack Island State Park For launch, Key contact: Andy Mager Key contact for site: Allison Smith
Monday, July 29: From Schodack Island State Park (launch 10 am) No lunch stop: Lunch on the river Land @ Coxsackie Village Park, Betke Blvd & S. River St (arrive 4:30 pm) Camping site @ Coxsackie Village Park Sharing the River of Life, 7 pm Key contact: Allison Smith, Local Contact: Vernon Benjamin
Tuesday, July 30: From Coxsackie Village Park (launch 10 am) Lunch @Athens, 2nd St & N Water Street Athens, NY Land @ Dutchman’s Landing, (map) (arrive 4:30 pm) Camping site @ Dutchman’s Landing Protecting the River of Life, 7 pm, @ Catskills Point Park 1 Main St, Catskill, NY 12414 Key contact: Allison Smith, Local contact Sue Rosenberg
Wednesday, July 31: Launch from Catskill (launch 10 am) Lunch @ Malden-on-Hudson, End of Riverside Drive Land @ Sojourner Truth/Ulster Landing Park Co Rd 37/Ulster Landing Rd (entrance) 934 Co Rd 37 / Ulster Landing Road, Saugerties, NY 12477 (map) (arrive 4:30 pm) Camp site @ Sojourner Truth/Ulster Landing Park Indigenous Rights and African-American Freedom Struggles, 7 pm. Key contact: Allison Smith, local contact Sally Bermanzohn
Thursday, August 1: From Sojourner Truth/Ulster Landing (launch 9:30 am) Lunch and Event @ Hudson Maritime Museum, Kingston*, 11-2:30 50 Rondout Landing, Kingston, NY (map) (paddlers arrive about 12:30 pm) Land @ Margret Norrie State Park, 9 Old Post Road, Staatsburg, NY 12580 (map) (arrive 6:30 pm) Camping site @ Margret Norrie State Park Key contact: Terry Eckert, local contact Tania Barricklo and Karin Wolfe
Friday, August 2: Launch from Margret Norrie State Park (launch 11 am) Land @ Poughkeepsie at Hudson River Rowing Association Dock, 270-272 N Water St, Poughkeepsie, NY (map) Camping site @ Hudson River Rowing Association Dock Lacrosse: The Creator’s Game Presentation, 5:30 pm Key contact: Jack Manno, local contacts Paul Gorgen and Stephanie Santagada Wells
Saturday, August 3: Launch from Poughkeepsie* (launch 10 am) Event @ 9:30 am: Welcome on the Walkway Gathering to Welcome Paddlers and Unity Riders to mid-Hudson Valley: Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, Poughkeepsie Entrance: 61 Parker Avenue Poughkeepsie, NY 12601; Highland entrance: 87 Haviland Road Highland, NY 12528 website: http://www.walkway.org Lunch @ Marlboro Yacht Club, End of Dock Road, Marlboro, NY website: http://mycboatclub.com/ Land @ Long Dock Park, Beacon, NY Directions to landing site: from Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, go 1.8 miles south on Route 9D, right on Beekman St., Right on Red Flynn Drive then immediate left on Long Dock Rd. Beacon Two Row Wampum Festival at Riverfront Park, Beacon, NY, 11 am – 8 pm (for directions, see http://beacontworow.org/directions/) Campsite @ David Eberle’s land, 35 Slocum Rd, Beacon, NY 12508 Directions to camp from Newburgh Beacon Bridge: south on RT 9D, 3.3 miles; Turn right onto Grandview Ave; Take the 1st left to stay on Grandview Ave.; Continue onto Slocum Rd, camping on the Right.
August 4: Launch from Long Dock Park in Beacon (launch 11 am) Land, event and camp @ Dockside Park, West St. and Fish St., Cold Springs, NY 10516 (map) (arrive 2 pm) Follow Main Street toward the river, turn Right to Dockside Park. The Two Row Wampum: Past, Present and Future, 4 pm Key contact: Terry Eckert, local contact Rosemarie Pennella
Monday, August 5: Launch from Cold Springs Dockside Park (launch 10:30 am) Lunch and Sharing the River of Life event @ Peekskill: 12:00 noon at Riverfront Green Park, Peekskill, off of Hudson St, Adjacent to the train station. Paddlers land at 1:30. Land @ Stony Point (arrive 5 pm) Campsite at Stony Point Center: 17 Cricketown Road, Stony Point, NY Interfaith Peace and Friendship Event at 7:30pm Stony Point Center, 17 Cricketown Road, Stony Point, NY Key contact: Lena Duby, local contact Turtle McDermott
Tuesday, August 6: Launch from Stony Point (launch 11 am) Land, event and campsite @ Croton Point Park, 1A Croton Point Ave, Croton-on-Hudson, NY (map) (arrive 1 pm) Elders Share Haudenosaunee History Event, 3 pm Key contact: Lena Duby, local contacts: Andrew Courtney or Mary Hegarty
Wednesday, August 7: Launch from Croton Point Park (launch 10:30 am) Lunch @ Nyack Beach State Park, 698 N Broadway, Upper Nyack, NY (map) Land @ Parelli Park, Hudson Way and Piermont Ave, Piermont, NY (arrive 5 pm) Camp @ 31 Ferry Road (Piermont Pier entrance/ball field) Sharing the River of Life program, 7 pm, Goswick Pavilion, Ferry Road, Piermont Key Contact: Lena Duby, local contacts Laurie Seeman and Margaret Grace
Thursday August 8: Piermont to Inwood/Yonkers (launch 10:30am) Launch @ Parelli Park, Hudson Way and Piermont Ave, Piermont, NY Lunch stop to be determined. Either at Beczak Environmental Center 35 Alexander St, Yonkers, NY 10701 OR Kennedy Marina/JFK Marina and Park at the end of JFK Memorial Drive, off of Warburton Avenue, Yonkers NY 10701 Land @ Dyckman Street landing, at La Marina Restaurant 348 Dyckman St New York, NY 10034 Poetry and Spoken Word: Two Rows and More, 6:30 pm at Inwood Hill Park, NYC CAMPING SITE IN YONKERS THIS NIGHT. (See lunch stop information)
Friday August 9: Inwood to Pier 96* Paddlers shuttled from Yonkers to Inwood and launch from: La Marina Restaurant 348 Dyckman St New York, NY 10034 Launch time at SUNRISE Land @ Downtown Boathouse, Pier 96 at 57th St. on west side of Manhattan) (map) 10:00am: Landing and Welcome by Dutch Consul General and Other dignitaries 11:30am: March to United Nations 1:30pm: Welcome of Paddlers to the United Nations at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 833 1st Ave, New York, NY, (map) 3:00pm: UN Event to commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (invitation only) Key contact: Aya Yamamoto NYC housing locations: Judson Memorial Church: 55 Washington Square S New York, NY 10012 Quaker Meeting house near Brooklyn Friends School
Saturday, August 10: New York City Two Row Festival 11 am – 5 pm, Brookfield Place/World Financial Center, west of World Trade Center, (map) Comedian Charlie Hill (Oneida, Mohawk, Cree), Akwesasne Women Singers, Sherri Waterman & The Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers, SilverCloud Singers (intertribal), Josephine Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock/Hopi/Ho-Chunk), Speakers: Tadodaho Sid Hill, Chief Oren Lyons, Chief Jake Edwards, native artisans, children’s activities, and more. *Events in collaboration with the Dakota Unity Riders
We will paddle between 9 and 15 miles each day and camp along the route. There will be educational and cultural events along the way, some large and others small. The gatherings will feature talks by Haudenosaunee leaders and allies and cultural sharing. The itinerary is still being finalized. The current version is on the attached application, updates will be available on our website. We will arrive in New York City on Friday, August 9 to participate in the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The symbolic enactment and related events will draw thousands of people to the Hudson to learn and be inspired to create an equitable and sustainable future for all in the Hudson Valley and beyond. The events will attract tourists as well as residents. We aim to educate and inspire attendees to transform their relationship to the river and all parts of the natural world, incorporating a sense of historic responsibility for the environment and justice for the original inhabitants of this land.
Onondaga to Albany: July 2-14
Haudenosaunee Paddlers are en route to Albany on the first leg of the Two Row Wampum journey. They will reach the Hudson on Sunday, July 14 after which they and the wampum belt they are carrying will rest for two weeks before the second part of the journey down the Hudson to the United Nations. They are being joined by other Haudenosaunee paddlers on the route. Contact Hickory, 315-775-7548.
Full Schedule Tuesday July 2: Onondaga Nation to Bayberry. Stop at Two Row Wampum Festival on Onondaga Lake Wednesday July 3: Bayberry to Oneida Shores Park Thursday July 4: Oneida Shores Park to Paradise Cove Friday July 5: Paradise Cove to Rome Saturday July 6: Rome to Barnes Ave., Utica Sunday, July 7: Rest Day KOA Herkimer Monday July 8: Utica to Lock (E18) Herkimer Tuesday July 9: Lock (E18) Herkimer to St. Johnsville Marina Wednesday July 10: St. Johnsville Marina to Kanatsiohareke (Tom Porters) Thursday July 11: Event at Kanatsiohareke. Drums along the Mohawk Friday July 12: Kanatsiohareke to Lock (E12) Tribe’s Hill Saturday July 13: Lock (E12) Tribe’s Hill to Lock (E8) Scotia. Festival at Mabee Farm Sunday July 14: Lock (E8) Scotia to Peebles Island
Epic Canoe Trip: Symbolic Enactment
July 28 @ 2:00 pm – August 9 @ 4:00 pm
We will begin with a cultural and educational festival near Albany on Saturday, July 27 and the flotilla will set off the following morning. We will paddle between 9 and 15 miles each day and camp along the route. There will be educational and cultural events along the way, some large and others small. The gatherings will feature talks by Haudenosaunee leaders and allies and cultural sharing. The most up-to-date version of the itinerary can be found here.
We will arrive in New York City on Friday, August 9 to participate in the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
The symbolic enactment and related events will draw thousands of people to the Hudson to learn and be inspired to create an equitable and sustainable future for all in the Hudson Valley and beyond. The events will attract tourists as well as residents. We aim to educate and inspire attendees to transform their relationship to the river and all parts of the natural world, incorporating a sense of historic responsibility for the environment and justice for the original inhabitants of this land.
Our First Day on the Water
What a wonderful start to our epic journey! Hundreds of indigenous and ally paddlers and their supporters gathered at the boat launch in Rensselaer in the pouring rain for our rousing send off. The rain cleared away long enough for most of the send-off ceremony. As Tadodaho Sid Hill gave the Thanksgiving Address from the shores of the River That Flows Both Ways, a hummingbird even came to join our well-wishers.
Local political leaders also come to send their good wishes for our voyage. Congressman Paul Tonko, Mayor of Troy Lou Rosamilia, Albany City Councilor Dominick Calsolaro, and a representative from Senator Gillabrand’s office all offered good words and well-wishes for our journey. Dan Dwyer, the Mayor of Rensselaer, also arrived as the last paddlers were launching and shared his well-wishes with the Haudenosaunee leaders there.
And then we were off! It was a beautiful sight to see the two great long rows of paddlers, native and and non-native side by side setting off down the Hudson. The rains and wind came back, but our paddlers persevered down to Henry Hudson Park for a lunch. About six paddlers found it to be more challenging than they expected and were assisted by our safety boats and the US Coast Guard Auxillary with us safely to the lunch stop. It is a good reminder that this is a serious river that deserves all our respect.
Despite the weather, a pair of eagles and a great blue heron joined us on the water for a while and everyone was in high spirits. The weather cleared for our final leg and we made our triumphant entrance to Schodack Island State Park. Jun-san Yasuda of the Grafton Peace Pagoda was there at both the launch and the send off, drumming her prayers for us. At dinner, Etoqua welcomed us on behalf of the Mahicans to their territory, as this was the site of their Council Fire in the time of the Two Row Wampum Treaty.
In the evening, the young paddlers from Tonawanda Seneca sang for us and we all shared in social dancing. We are all tired but determined and full of joy to be on this great journey together.
Two Row and Unity Riders
The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is delighted to collaborate with the Dakota People of Manitoba, Canada who are bringing their Unity Riders to the Hudson Valley this summer. They ride on horseback to spread a message of peace and healing for every nation and for humankind. This epic journey of the horsemen will cover thousands of miles from Canada to New York State and will rendezvous with the Two Row paddlers at several spots on our journey down the Hudson River.
The Unity Ride, led by Chief Gus High Eagle of the Dakota Nation, will join with the Two Row Campaign on July 27 at Sage College in Troy, on August 1 at the Hudson Maritime Museum in Kingston, on August 3 in Poughkeepsie and Beacon, and on August 9 and 10 in New York City. The Two Row Campaign will join with the Unity Riders in Woodstock on August 4 for their International Walk for World Peace.
From The Sigurd F. Olson Website, http://www4.uwm.edu/letsci/research/sigurd_olson/contents.htm, comes this quote:
Such vivid awareness is swiftly lost today, but if it can be held into adulthood it enriches and colors all we do. How often in the wild country of the north I have been aware of the spirits of the voyageurs, the shadowy forms that once roamed the rivers and lakes. Often at night it seemed I could hear ghostly songs coming across the water, the rhythmic dip of paddles and the swish of great canoes as they went by.
I’ve included this quote here as I firmly believe that anyone who picks up a paddle and takes to the canoe in the north country is following the path that the voyageurs first took. It is as if those of us so inclined to go canoe tripping are listening to the voyageur’s songs. Mind you the voyageurs were not on a pleasure cruise….it was all business….and the portages with heavy laden packs and long days of paddling were literally killers….far from what a typical modern day canoe trip involves with ultralight Kevlar canoe and lightweight tent, pack, and other gear (including freeze-dried food that once prepared can seem like it came right out of the fanciest restaurant). But the sense of adventure must have been similar….even the country traveled through by the voyageurs and their modern day counterparts remains the same for the most part….and for many today as yesterday, the song of the paddle is literally music to their ears.
Spending time online I came across several songs inspired by the voyageurs….and in a previous post I did mention a musical journey by voyageur canoe….but I also came across a couple of short videos on YouTube on the voyageurs (both from the National Film Board)….it certainly wasn’t all music and songs….far from it:
Canada Vignettes – Voyageurs
Paddles up until later then….as did the voyageurs…..
Check out this report from the Canadian Canoe Museum on the WCHA Annual Assembly:
Which is your choice????
From photos found online:
Trans Alaska pipeline, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trans-Alaska_Pipeline_System_Luca_Galuzzi_2005.jpg,
and RCMP Native Spirituality Guide, http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/abo-aut/spirit-spiritualite-eng.htm.
I know which one is mine….
A few years ago, I spent a great weekend….of paddling….of good food….and great discussion around the campfire. Such a campfire is a wonderful way to spend part of a weekend….and way to get to know more about like minded friends.
It was my first communal campfire of the year that Saturday night….it was an amazing gathering with interesting conversation from a very eclectic group of folks….talk ranged from the meaning of life (and why we are here?!?!?)….to humankind’s interference with Mother Earth….to really bad puns….and the perfect s’mores….with everything seemingly possible in between discussed as well….maybe you needed to be there, but trust me it was an amazing night of discussion….next to a lake….and occasional twinkling star….and even a brief glimpse of the moon rising over the water. All in all it was the perfect end to a perfect day….earlier we had shared a paddle around a marsh….and a fine meal prepared by our host.
One of my comrades around that fire later stated he felt that day-old campfire on clothes has to be the grossest smell in the world….but to me it is possibly the greatest smell….there’s nothing like a campfire….now I don’t recommend trying to have a campfire in the middle of your living room at home LOL LOL….and even a fire in the home hearth doesn’t really compare….a campfire is part of being outdoors….being outside….being with good friends….sharing stories and experiences….and the good times together.
Here are some quotes I found regarding campfires (from Scouting Around: Quotes:
Sometimes it takes looking through the haze of campfire smoke to see the world clearly.
Why is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire? (NOTE: This is not a comment regarding the ability of the person responsible for starting Saturday’s campfire LOL LOL.)
Songs are a big part of most campfires….I am reminded of two great songs by Ian Tamblyn….one is Woodsmoke and Oranges:
Firewood, smoke and oranges, path of old canoe; I would course the inland ocean to be back to you; No matter where I go to, it’s always home again; To the rugged northern shore, and the days of sun and wind; And the land of the silver birch, cry of the loon; There’s something ’bout this country, that’s a part of me and you. – from Woodsmoke and Oranges by Ian Tamblyn.
Ian plays Woodsmoke and Oranges on Part 1 of Listen Up (Vision TV) segment on YouTube:
Another favourite from Ian Tamblyn is Campfire Light.
Then there is Boy Scout Trail: Campfire Closing Song Song:
Campfire Closing Song
Tune: Down in the Valley
Lets us all stand now – time we must go, Silently leaving – thoughts let us know, Thoughts let us know, thoughts let us know, Silently leaving – thoughts let us know.
Watch the fire flicker – the last of the flame, But as we leave you – your friendship we claim, Your friendship we claim, yes, your friendship we claim, But as we leave you – your friendship we claim.
Watch the red embers – a memory of light, We carry it with us, to show us the right. To show us the right, yes to show us the right. We carry it with us – to show us the right.
Watch the hot ashes – once it was wood, Has changed through service – a blessing that’s good. A blessing that’s good, yes, a blessing that’s good, Has changed through service – a blessing that’s good.
Watch the fire dying – but when it is dead, Always the memory – will lead us ahead. Will lead us ahead, yes, will lead us ahead, Always the memory – will lead us ahead.
By the way, just in case you weren’t able to get out this weekend and enjoy your own campfire, here are some videos from YouTube:
Crackling Campfire (10 minutes)
Enjoy the ambiance of this birch & pine campfire I built on the shore of Lake Superior in Lutsen, MN. If you listen closely, you can even hear the waves lapping on the rocky beach! This video is “real-time” for 10 minutes and is NOT looped!
Natural Elements Campfire
This is just what it says….a high resolution video of a campfire, filmed in Northern Minnesota. (NOTE: I love the sound of the loons calling over the crackling fire.)
Paddles up until later then….and hopefully you’ll be around your own campfire soon….maybe in Algonquin or Killarney or Temagami…..up at the cabin or cottage….or some special place in the outdoors….and you’ll get to enjoy it in the company of good friends. And maybe you’ll also come to think of woodsmoke from a campfire as the smell of success.
I would now like to present the reasons for Why Canoeing Is Better Than Sex????:
Why Canoeing Is Better Than Sex:
18 – You don’t have to hide your canoeing magazines….Canoeroots is just one of many paddling publications you read.
17 – It is perfectly acceptable to pay a professional to canoe with you once in a while. (Instruction in proper technique is important….hey I’m talking paddling here LOL LOL.)
16 – The Ten Commandments don’t say anything about canoeing.
15 – If your partner takes pictures or videotapes of you canoeing, you don’t have to worry about them showing up on the Internet if you become famous. (Well then you could end up on YouTube in a video like Kevin Callan sliding down a steep bank, being pulled down by a canoe….or struggling over a beaver dam….with music supplied by Dave Hadfield.)
14 – Your canoeing partner doesn’t get upset about people you paddled with long ago.
13 – It’s perfectly respectable to canoe with a total stranger. (Sometimes at clinics or courses, it’s even encouraged you paddle with someone you don’t know.)
12 – When you see a really good canoeist, you don’t have feel guilty about imagining the two of you paddling together. (Especially if that other Canoeist paddles like Becky Mason or Omer Stringer.)
11 – If your regular canoeing partner isn’t available, he/she won’t object if you paddle with someone else. (See #13 and #14 for more thoughts related to this.)
10 – Nobody will ever tell you that you will go blind if you canoe by yourself. (Remember the following words of wisdom: Paddle solo, sleep tandem. - Caroline Owen; Love many, trust a few, and always paddle your own canoe. – Anonymous; but then also remember that canoeing can be fun with a partner too….like some other things can LOL LOL.)
9 – When dealing with a canoeing pro, you never have to wonder if they are really an undercover cop….just whether they are certified instructors.
8 – You don’t have to go to a sleazy shop in a seedy neighborhood to buy canoeing stuff….I mean have you been to Mountain Equipment Co-op lately.
7 – You can have a canoeing calendar on your wall at the office, tell paddling jokes, and invite coworkers to canoe with you without getting sued for harassment.
6 – There are no paddling-transmitted diseases.
5 – If you want to watch canoeing on television, you don’t have to subscribe to the Playboy channel….maybe some of the nature or history based channels….come to think of it wouldn’t it be great to have an all canoeing channel….yes, Paddle TV with shows like Bill Mason’s films or those of Justine Curgenven….maybe a show called This Old Canoe, all about rebuilding and restoring an old wood canvas canoe.
4 – Nobody expects you to canoe with the same partner for the rest of your life. (See #11, #13 and #14.)
3 – Nobody expects you to give up canoeing if your partner loses interest in it. (I could have said see #4, #11, #13 and #14….or maybe even made a comment on how one never could lose interest in paddling….but I won’t….rather I’ll let Henry David Thoreau: Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing.
2 – You don’t have to be a newlywed to plan a vacation primarily to enjoy your favorite activity….although if you happen to be like the McGuffins, you could turn a honeymoon canoe trip into a life long affair.
And the number one reason Why Canoeing is Better Than Sex
1 – Your canoeing partner will never say, “Not again? We just paddled last week! Is paddling all you ever think about?” (I know many folks who are already planning the next canoe trip even as they are tying the canoe onto the car rack….after a month long trip….or in some cases, even sooner.)
But then being Canadian, this whole discussion of Why Canoeing Is Better Than Sex???? is very confusing….especially for a Canadian….I mean it has been said:
A true Canadian is one who can make love in a canoe without tipping.- Pierre Berton
Anyone can make love in a canoe, it’s a Canadian who knows enough to take out the centre thwart! - Philip Chester
And what other country would define its people by their ability to make love in such a vehicle? Certainly the Germans don’t do this with the Volkswagen “Bug”! - Roy MacGregor
As I observed here before in “Sex And The Single Canoe”: Another Look At Pierre Berton’s Famous Quote….Or Should That Be “Canadian Birth Control”????, http://reflectionsoutdoors.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/canadian-birth-control-another-look-at-pierre-bertons-famous-quote/:
I think that it might possibly explain the birth rate in certain sections of Canada….I mean love making in a canoe can’t be that comfortable. Especially in a wood canvas canoe….kneeling on ribs can be bad enough on old bones like mine so I can’t imagine anybody my age trying to actually make love in a ribbed canoe.
Now I’ve heard other versions of this quote….with such additional comments being made as “without tipping” (which might imply that real Canadians have some inborn sense of balance)….or making comparisons to making love in a canoe and American beer (implying that the “quality” of Canadian water has something to do with at least one or more likely both)….or even attempting to be “punny” about it all as in “Canadians can make love in a canoe….without being ‘thwarted’….and still take a ‘bow’….now don’t get ‘stern’….I know that’s this is a ’keeler’….sorry I was just ‘ribbing’ you….I guess you’re ‘gunnel’ just have to take it no matter what….now just ‘tumblehome’ with you” (sorry I learned bad puns from a master….thanks Kirk).
So trying to make love in a canoe just might be the answer to birth control….at the very least all you have to do is actually tip the canoe over and get an instant “cold shower”….but then that wouldn’t be very Canadian I guess.
On Collector’s Weekly is a great article on Love Boats: The Delightfully Sinful History Of Canoes, http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/love-boats-the-delightfully-sinful-history-of-canoes/ . I recommend you check it out….
As Pierre Berton observed:
A true Canadian is one who can make love in a canoe without tipping.
Philip Chester adds:
Anyone can make love in a canoe, it’s a Canadian who knows enough to take out the centre thwart!
Others have noted:
Paddle solo, sleep tandem. – Caroline Owen
Love many, trust a few, and always paddle your own canoe. – Anonymous
Or as Roy MacGregor notes about the canoe:
And what other country would define its people by their ability to make love in such a vehicle? Certainly the Germans don’t do this with the Volkswagen “Bug”!
I have written here before about sexy Marilyn Monroe in a canoe (http://reflectionsoutdoors.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/great-looking-canoe-but-whos-the-blonde-more-proof-canoeing-is-sexy-and-paddle-making-is-a-great-blog/); on “Why Canoeing Is Better Than Sex?” (http://reflectionsoutdoors.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/why-canoeing-is-better-than-sex/); even on “Sex and The Single Canoe”…..or how the canoe might be a birth control device lol lol (http://reflectionsoutdoors.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/canadian-birth-control-another-look-at-pierre-bertons-famous-quote/).
On Paddle Making (And Other Canoe Stuff) Blog, there was this entry, Celebrity Paddles: Marilyn Monroe (another reason to prove that canoeing is sexy). Murat V. has written a well researched piece on Marilyn Monroe and canoeing, which contains the following photos:
Marilyn in Canoe, 1953
Marilyn with a Mountie, 1953
A book on sex in Canada is entitled How to Make Love in a Canoe: Sex in Canada by Jeff Pearce.
James Raffan has written about how you can’t make Love (Sask.) in a canoe…. as well I came across the blog from the Canadian Canoe Museum (http://www.canoemuseum.ca/), “Hit The Road With James Raffan”. This blog is on travelling with James Raffan across Canada on the National Treasure Tour. I found a related entry entitled “Canoe Theory: Love in a Canoe”, http://www.canoemuseum.ca/index.php/component/option,com_lyftenbloggie/Itemid,126/category,hit%20the%20road%20with%20raffan/id,15/view,entry/. I have included a few excerpts here:
Yes, yes, it was our very own Kama Sutran scholar, Pierre Berton, who’s supposed to have first put voice to the notion and it was Ottawa Valley poet, Phil Chester (aka Mr. Canoehead aka Phill the Pill from the Wilno Hill) who made the observation that anyone can make love in a canoe, it’s a Canadian who knows enough to remove the centre thwart. And, let it be known—categorically—that you can make Love in a canoe even though there is a bit of a carry to get the last little way from the nearest navigable waterway…..check out the town of Love, Saskatchewan and what route you might take to get there in your canoe working your way up the mighty Torch River.
Top Ten Tips on Making Lasting Love in a Canoe—Or Marriage Tips from Moosomin.
10. The essential challenge is deceptively simple—keep the open side up at all times. Paddling is harder than it looks, especially in rough water. Don’t take anything forgranted, especially when things feel comfortable.
9. It’s as much about the journey as the destination—where you are right now matters. Balance is key to success. Communication is important. Keeping your boat seaworthy with regular maintenance is essential.
8. It’s all about partnership—being in the same boat. It’s about common purpose, common direction. If one of you is tired, the other can take the load and maintain progress.
7. It doesn’t matter who’s in what position because a canoe can be powered or steered from either end. Sometimes it takes both to navigate in certain winds. Sometimes though you can raise a sail, loaf and laugh.
6. You can choose to work with or against each other—it’s challenge by choice. Just because you’re in the same boat doesn’t necessarily mean you’re paddling together or, for that matter, going in the same direction.
5. The view from the bow is often different than the view from the stern. Don’t assume that becuase you’re looking the same way that you’re seeing the same things.
4. The essential joy and beauty of canoeing is about simplicity, partnership and relationship—take what you need and leave the rest. Too much stuff can sink the boat.
3. Canoes are amazingly seaworthy in rough water and rapids. Practise makes perfect. If all else fails, hanging. And, if that’s not working, watch a Bill Mason movie or take a few lessons.
2. Canoes can go anywhere, as long as you’re prepared to portage. See #4 and the point about “stuff.”
1. There are extra places in every canoe, best filled with friends and family. How/when this is done depends on the individual paddlers’ preferences but, in the event that one wishes to begin at the beginning with the creation of new paddlers then it’s always advisable to consider removing the centre thwart.
And somebody once emailed me about an online Cosmopolitan article on the Canoe Canoodle….a very descriptive piece so I won’t post a link here….but if you really want to try to make love in a canoe this does supply ‘visual aids’ lol lol….but you’ll have to ‘Google’ that one yourself….just to keep this G-rated lol lol….
So who says canoeing isn’t sexy….
Paddles up until later then….as I’ve noted before: Any way, whether canoeing is better than sex or not really shouldn’t matter….or even whether canoeing is sexy….no matter what the definition of a Canadian may or may not be….get out for a paddle….spend time in a canoe….it’s good for you….for so much of your life….who knows maybe even your sex life. At least I know you will have fun.
Paddles up until later then.
….the canoe is not a lifeless, inanimate object; it feels very much alive, alive with the life of the river. – Bill Mason, Path of the Paddle
There is nothing that is so aesthetically pleasing and yet so functional and versatile as the canoe. – Bill Mason
Today, most Canadian canoeing is recreational. Many of us would assert that it is usually meaningful, aesthetically fulfilling and ecologically sensitive recreational canoeing. Admittedly, these modifiers are not present in the highly competitive, highly structured and technically oriented canoe racing sports which tend not to take place in a wilderness environment. But with these large exceptions, canoeing, certainly canoe tripping and lake water canoe crusising, tends to involve in varying degrees a quest for wilderness or at least semi-wilderness. It also involves a search for high adventure or natural tranquility or both. These activities are an integral part of Canadian culture. Bill Mason asserts that the canoe is “the most beautiful work of human beings, the most functional yet aesthetically pleasing object ever created,” and that paddling a canoe is “an art” not a technical achievement. That certainly means culture. - Bruce Hodgins, from Canexus, p.46
On her Dad’s art: “Like him, I find that paddling can take you on a voyage of creativity where you store up experiences in you memory to treasure for a lifetime.” – Becky Mason
The canoe has appeared in many forms of art….in paintings by artists such as Tom Thomson….and Bill Mason certainly comes to mind….and many many others….then there’s great photography such as that by Jim Davis or Mike Monaghan….not to mention great films by Bill Mason or Justine Curgenven….even the act of paddling a canoe is seen as art (especially if you’ve seen Free-style paddling by the likes of Karen Knight or even a display of Canadian style paddling by Becky Mason….truly canoe ballet)….but the canoe is also found in other forms of art too.
On Facebook, Fiona of Badger Paddles posted on a sculpture/installation in Lewiston, Idaho called Canoe Wave….Lewiston, Idaho is where Lewis and Clark met the Nez Perce tribe….Christopher Fennell created Canoe Wave, a 23-foot-tall colorful wave of canoes welded together on the bank of the Snake River. From his website Making of the Canoe Wave, http://cfennell.com/pages/lc.html, comes this description:
For him, each canoe stands for a person, and here is a wave of them. Visually, it’s a storm of canoes. It’s a monument to Lewis and Clark who used the canoe, but also to the life of the rivers that flow through the valley. It will take 50 or more canoes to create the wave. The canoes are all aluminum, a material that will withstand the storms of ages. He discovered fiberglass would disintegrate. While 10 canoes came from the Boise area, most are from Chattanooga, Tenn., where Fennell once created a giant doorway from trees. People familiar with his work there sold him their canoes after learning of his Idaho project in local newspapers. In the process they shared stories of rapids, frostbite and other adventures in their boats, which were like old friends. “I wanted canoes that had a history to them,” Fennell says. “They wanted to retire their friend into something that would last forever.” Like most of his work, the $100,000 art piece is made from 80 percent recycled materials. As an avid outdoorsman, natural forms like waves, flora and fauna are prevalent in Fennell’s work. “It’s totally where I’m inspired. The engineer in me still looks at how nature puts things together and how man puts things together and I’m mixing the two.” Another way to put it, he says, is a beehive and a skyscraper are basically the same. “I always like to think there’s nature and civilization. If you stand off a bit, we’re all nature.”
Canoe Wave, from http://cfennell.com/pages/lc.html.
This got me to thinking about various sculptures based on the canoe….especially large installations….not public (or even private) exhibits of actual canoes….so I thought I’d post a few examples.
Bill Reid, a famous Haida artist and carver, created several such works. He even helped renew the tradition of building traditional canoes. From The Raven’s Call, http://theravenscall.ca/en/art, a publication on Bill Reid’s art comes this by Dr. Martine Reid (an independent scholar, author, and curator):
In 1991, after five years of work, Reid and his crew of assistants completed the large bronze “The Spirit of Haida Gwaii” (“The Black Canoe”) and installed it in a reflecting pool at the Canadian Chancery in Washington D.C. Its black patina represents the black argillite slate carved by the Haida people. A second casting with a green patina (“The Jade Canoe”) is installed at the Vancouver International Airport. An image of “The Spirit of Haida Gwaii” was chosen to represent Canadian art and culture on the Canadian twenty-dollar banknote.
Bill Reid “The Spirit of Haida Gwaii” (“The Black Canoe”) 1991 Bronze with black patina 3.89 m H x 3.48 m W x 6.05 m L Collection of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) Catalogue number 994.98.1 Gift of Nabisco Brands Limited, Toronto, Ontario Photo: Glen Bullard, DFAIT
Bill Reid “The Spirit of Haida Gwaii” (“The Jade Canoe”) 1996 Bronze with jade patina, the second and final bronze casting 3.89 m H x 3.48 m W x 6.05 m L Collection of the Vancouver International Airport Authority Photo: Kenji Nagai
Both photos from http://theravenscall.ca/en/art.
The canoe as an image is often used….frequently to tie in with a historical event. In Huntsville is a sculpture to Tom Thomson that Murat V. of the Paddle Making blog wrote about in this post, Tom ThomsonCanoe & Paddle Sculpture, http://paddlemaking.blogspot.com/2010/02/tom-thomson-canoe-paddle-sculpture.html:
In front of the historic town hall in downtown Huntsville is a statue of legendary Canadian artist, Tom Thomson whose raw impressionist style marked the beginning a new era in Canadian wilderness art. His suspicious death in 1917 while paddling on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park served to increase his fame and elevated him to a sort of legendary status.
The statue was sculpted and cast by local a artist, Brenda Wainman-Goulet. It features Thomson in his characteristic wool cap painting a sketch while sitting on a tree stump. Next to him rests an overturned 12 foot canoe and a paddle…..made in ’08. The canoe was sculpted in wax, cut into sections, cast and reassembled in bronze. The total weight of the bronze canoe is 900 lbs (portage that!) and is apparently the first bronze canoe of its kind in Canada.
THEMUSEUM in Kitchener will have an installation based on the Tom Thomson story by Professor Marcel O’Gorman, PhD (Director, Critical Media Lab, Department of English, University of Waterloo), as part of the art exhibition, SEARCHING FOR TOM | Tom Thomson: Man, Myth and Masterworks. For more on this see my blog post, http://reflectionsoutdoors.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/myth-of-the-steersman-more-on-tom-thomsons-canoe/ or Marcel’s blog, http://blog.steersman.ca/.
Artist John McEwen has created several canoe related projects (in these two cases in collaboration with Steve Killing, well known boat designer, including designs of canoes and kayaks….as Steve states on his website, http://stevekilling.com/specialart.htm, regarding such work: I feel honoured to work with these artists. My task is to computer model, render, and sometimes engineer the shapes that they imagine).
A Bronze Canoe Sculpture installed in the Canadian Embassy in Berlin Artist: John McEwen, photo from http://stevekilling.com/specialart.htm.
From http://torontohistory.org/Pages_ABC/Canoe_and_Calipers.html, Canoe And Calipers.
Photos and transcription by contributor Wayne Adam – June, 2009, from http://torontohistory.org/Pages_ABC/Canoe_and_Calipers.html.
Here is more, from http://torontohistory.org/Pages_ABC/Canoe_and_Calipers.html:
Located on the southeast corner of The Queensway and Windermere Avenue is this public art for Windemere by the Lake. The accompanying plaque has this to say:
This sculpture of Canoe and Calipers, marks the meeting of two technologies: the calipers a symbol of the old world and the canoe a gift of the First Nations. Both were instrumental in shaping Canada and on a smaller scale both refer to the history of the area — First Nations peoples and early explorers canoed Lake Ontario to the south and the Humber River to the west. Most recently the Stelco/Swansea Iron Works Factory which made nuts and bolts occupied this site.
Also in Toronto is a sculpture most know simply as The Big Red Canoe. It can be seen from the Gardiner Expressway….or travelling by GO train. Here are some photos:
Photo from http://mute.rigent.com/index.php?ladat=2009-09-29 , which is described by the photographer as: A new park in downtown Toronto situated on a large condo development. The 8 acre park was designed around the vision of author Douglas Coupland and features this over-sized red canoe pointing out over the Gardiner Expressway – Toronto’s busiest ‘river’.
Photo from Eye Weekly, http://www.eyeweekly.com/city/details/article/71921. This is the description from this website:
Canadian author and designer Douglas Coupland was in Toronto last week to launch his latest project: a park between Spadina and Bathurst among the CityPlace condos. The new as-yet-unnamed park continues Coupland’s Canadiana theme with giant fishing lures, a pathway named after Terry Fox and what will likely become a Toronto landmark: a big red canoe on a hill that points directly at the Gardiner.
Since these articles the park has been named Canoe Landing Park. That is a truly appropriate name….not only for the Big Red Canoe that is part of it….but also for the fact that Toronto began as a First Nations village, then later a fur trading post….and this is close to the access (in Toronto any way) of the portage many knew as the Toronto Carrying Place. ( NOTE: Apparently up to 10 people can fit into the Big Red Canoe….that is a lot of potential paddlers LOL LOL.)
Photo of Nuu-Chah-Nulth Whaling Canoe sculpture in Port Alberni, BC, front view, from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nuu-Chah-Nulth_Whaling_Canoe_sculpture_in_Port_Alberni_front.JPG.
Photo of Nuu-Chah-Nulth Whaling Canoe sculpture in Port Alberni, BC, back view, from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nuu-Chah-Nulth_Whaling_Canoe_sculpture_in_Port_Alberni_back.JPG.
This sculpture was originally housed in the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria.
Another Canadian canoe art piece is described by Nova Craft Canoes, http://www.novacraft.com/inline_whatsup.htm:
Canadian History Up in the Air
Along with 23 Nova Craft Canoes
Our canoes can be spotted in some unusual places these days. Two London art galleries are displaying our canoes in an exploration of Canadian history from an alternative perspective.
Underway in London is a research project entitled ‘Mapping Medievalism at the Canadian Frontier’. Led by UWO art history professor Kathryn Brush, the project aims to introduce Canadian history to the definition of ‘medievalism’. In the exhibition, artifacts from the European Middle Ages are mixed with Native North American objects from the same era. The effect is to visually define the ‘Canadian Middle Ages’.
Among the Native North American objects on display is our authentic birch-bark canoe. Normally housed in London’s Paddle Shop showroom, the canoe is now a spectacle at UWO’s McIntosh Gallery – one of three exhibition sites for Brush’s project. Together with pre-1550 Native artifacts and other historical objects, the 16-foot replica carries the Native North American side of the visual dialogue.
Our canoes also appear in a related installation, across campus in the Visual Arts Department. Assigned to respond to Brush’s exhibition, third-year sculpture students have begun their own exhibition, called ‘Medievaled Sculpture’. The show takes place in the department’s ArtLAB gallery.
Inspired by our birch-bark canoe, the sculpture class decided to use canoes as the backdrop for their show. Not just one or two, however, but 23 of our Royalex Lites are being installed in the 1600-square-foot space! Moreover, most of the canoes will be hung from the gallery ceiling. Three people are required to hang each canoe: one to ride a Skylift up and tie ropes to steel girders 30-feet high, and two on the ground to hoist the canoe using pulleys. The canoes are being arranged in a Gothic pattern reminiscent of medieval architecture.
Underneath the Gothic canoe ceiling, the gallery floor is covered in a collaborative drawing project. The space in between contains the students’ sculptures, involving all sorts of materials such as clay, glass, wood, metal, feathers, lights, video, and found objects.
The reaction to ‘Medievaled Sculpture’ is that of “surprise”, says Kelly Jazvac, the class’s professor. The exhibit is a show-in-progress; the ArtLAB gallery is open during the installation. Closing night is Dec. 2, at which time installation will be complete. Jazvac anticipates a large closing night crowd.
We are pleased to support the university’s research on expanding the current perception of Canadian history. In addition to its longstanding reputation as an “icon of the Canadian wilderness”, the canoe can now be considered a symbol of the Canadian Middle Ages.
Outside of Canada are other canoe related sculptures….as I noted in the opening of this post on Christopher Fennel’s Canoe Wave. Here are some other examples:
Photo of Basalt Canoes, Smith Lake, Oregon, from http://www.columbiariverimages.com/Regions/Places/smith_bybee_lakes.html.
In Las Vegas another example of an installation of canoes was erected in front of the Aria Hotel….from http://motiongroove.com/2009/12/11/not-much-to-update/, comes these photos with the following descriptions:
this a crazy sculpture at the Aria Hotel, if you look closely you will see these are all canoes, probably over 100 canoes were used for this art piece.
closer look at the canoe art piece.
In San Francisco, from http://www.artbusiness.com/1open/021210.html, comes this photo of a canoe sculpture:
From New Zealand, from a blog called Gorgeous With Attitude (a blog by a couple of Kiwi, stay-at-home mums – femivores if you like – living on opposite sides of the world….who get excited about all kinds of things from slow-food,permaculture gardening, farming and pets to art (especially public sculpture and Maori art), local history,trains, fabulous walks, nature, beautiful things in general…), http://gorgeouswithattitude.blogspot.com/2009/11/waka-sculpture.html, comes this description and photos of a very interesting sculpture:
This new roundabout in Hamilton is graced with this magnificent sculpture. It represents seven waka (Maori canoes). The artist is Aucklander, Dion Hitchins in association with local Hamilton artist James Ormsby.
According to the Hamilton City Council web site, the arrangement of the seven waka represents the Kingitanga symbol of the Matariki star constellation (Maori new year). Each waka has symbols of local significance on it – such as a Kowhai flower, eels, a fire.
It`s incomplete – to be added is a cluster of tuna (eels) suspended in the shape of a hinaki (eel net). Each of the waka will be up-lit and LED lights will illuminate the symbols and the eels. The sculpture is located in a suburb of Hamilton called Rototuna (roto meaning lake and tuna meaning eels), hence the significance of eels. At the moment it`s on the outskirts of town and a bit remote, but I understand the main state highway bypass will eventually join it.
Of course this is just a sampling of canoe sculptures….there are many many more….some you may like….others you may not….I still don’t know if $100,000 is what Christopher Fennel’s Canoe Wave is worth (you could buy a lot of wood canvas canoes for that….but then it might be a good use for aluminum canoes LOL LOL)….and the canoe is truly a beautiful art form in whatever that form of art takes….whether in a sculpture or a painting or a photograph….even on its own the the canoe is a beautiful thing….especially a beautiful dream of a canoe like this:
Photo by yours truly.
In my opinion, wood canvas canoes are truly the most beautiful of canoes….and yes I’m biased LOL LOL.
Beautiful things made by hand carry within them the seeds of their survival. They generate a spark of affection. For some it’s sentimental, for some it’s the art of the craftsmanship, for some the beauty of the finished boat. People love these things and try hard to ensure they endure.
The survival of the wood-canvas canoe (to paraphrase John McPhee) is certainly a matter of the heart; a romantic affair. The economics are unfavorable. In fact, the wood-canvas canoe’s most conspicuous asset and advantage is that it’s a beautiful piece of art. It’s the Shaker rocking chair of outdoor sport – handcrafted, simple, clean, and functional. There’s nothing in it that doesn’t have to be there, but all of the pieces add up to more than the parts. It works well and looks wonderful doing it. - From Honeymoon With A Prospector by Lawrence Meyer
Paddles up until later then….and no matter what type of canoe you prefer, enjoy the canoe as an art form….especially in the ‘wave’ of canoe sculptures.
Several years ago I attended the Wilderness Canoe Symposium in Toronto….at lunch I got into a conversation with Rob Stevens and another American WCHA member (I forget his name….sorry must be old age LOL LOL)….they were discussing paper canoes….specifically around possibly building one at the next WCHA Assembly as an activity for the kids….but the discussion also got around to the history of paper canoes….which I’m sure many are not aware of (I certainly wasn’t)….but it got me doing some research (as usual mostly online)….here’s what I found:
First I was interested to find out what I could about paper canoes….even paper boats….so I found this link, Papier-mâché, which contained the following piece:
One common item made in the 19th century in America was the paper canoe, most famously made by Waters & Sons of Troy, New York. The invention of the continuous sheet paper machine allows paper sheets to be made of any length, and this made an ideal material for building a seamless boat hull. The paper of the time was significantly stretchier than modern paper, especially when damp, and this was used to good effect in the manufacture of paper boats. A layer of thick, dampened paper was placed over a hull mold and tacked down at the edges. A layer of glue was added, allowed to dry, and sanded down. Additional layers of paper and glue could be added to achieve the desired thickness, and cloth could be added as well to provide additional strength and stiffness. The final product was trimmed, reinforced with wooden strips at the keel and gunwales to provide stiffness, and waterproofed. Paper racing shells were highly competitive during the late 19th century. Few examples of paper boats survived. One of the best known paper boats was the canoe, the “Maria Theresa,” used by Nathaniel Holmes Bishop to travel from New York to Florida in 1874–1875. An account of his travels was published in the book “Voyage of the Paper Canoe.”
Next I wanted to find out more about the story of Nathaniel H. Bihop and this incredible journey by paper canoe he took….it was described in his book Voyage of the Paper Canoe: A Geographical Journey of 2500 Miles, From Quebec to the Gulf of Mexico, During the Years 1874-5.
Another online resource about this amazing journey was Path and Paddle: Paper Canoe, which describes the part of his trip through Florida….as well as a bit about the journey itself….I thought it would be great to reproduce that article here:
Voyage of the Paper Canoe; a geographical journey of 2500 miles, from Quebec to the Gulf of Mexico, during the years 1874-5
In the summer of 1874 Nathaniel Holmes Bishop and an assistant set out on a 2,500 mile paddle from Quebec to Florida’s Cedar Keys on the Gulf of Mexico. Some 400 miles into the trip, he swapped his 18-foot wooden canoe for an innovative and much lighter weight paper canoe, designed and constructed by Elisha Waters & Sons of Troy, New York.
The 37-year old outdoorsman, who had already authored a previous trekking tale entitled One Thousand Miles Walk Across South America, dismissed his helper and resumed a solo canoe journey, dedicating his narrative of the trip to the employees of the U.S. Coast Survey Bureau.
The final chapter of the Voyage of the Paper Canoe begins at Lower Mineral Springs on the Suwanee River after a 35-mile portage. Bishop is joined by a party of friends, including Major John Purviance, Commissioner of Suwanee County, who offered to escort the paper canoe down “the river of song.”
This is an excerpt from N.H. Bishop’s fascinating journal:
It was nearly ten o’clock A. M. on Friday, March 26th, when our merry party left Old Town hammock. This day was to see the end of the voyage of the paper canoe, for my tiny craft was to arrive at the waters of the great southern sea before midnight. The wife and daughters of our host, like true women of the forest, offered no forebodings at the departure of the head of their household, but wished him, with cheerful looks, a pleasant voyage to the Gulf. The gulf port of Cedar Keys is but a few miles from the mouth of the Suwanee River. The railroad which terminates at Cedar Keys would, with its connection with other routes, carry the members of our party to their several homes.
The bright day animated our spirits, as we swept swiftly down the river. The party in the shad-rowed merrily on with song and laughter, while I made an attempt to examine more closely the character of the water-moccasin — the Trigono cephaluspiscivorus of Lacepede, — which I had more cause to fear than the alligators of the river. The water moccasin is about two feet in length, and has a circumference of five or six inches. The tail possesses a horny point about half an inch in length, which is harmless, though the Crackers and Negroes stoutly affirm that when it strikes a tree the tree withers and dies, and when it enters the flesh of a man he is poisoned unto death.
The color of the reptile is a dirty brown. Never found far from water, it is common in the swamps, and is the terror of the rice-field Negroes. The bite of the water moccasin is exceedingly venomous, and is considered more poisonous than that of the rattlesnake, which warns man of his approach by sounding his rattle.
The moccasin does not, like the rattlesnake, wait to be attacked, but assumes the offensive whenever opportunity offers, striking with its fangs at every animated object in its vicinity. All other species of snakes flee from its presence. It is found as far north as the Peedee River of South Carolina, and is abundant in all low districts of the southern states. As the Suwanee had overflowed its banks below Old Town Hammock, the snakes had taken to the low limbs of the trees and to the tops of bushes, where they seemed to be sleeping in the warmth of the bright sunlight; but as I glided along the shore a few feet from their aerial beds, they discovered my presence, and dropped sluggishly into the water. It would not be an exaggeration to say that we passed thousands of these dangerous reptiles while descending the Suwanee. Raftsmen told me that when traversing lagoons in their log canoes, if a moccasin is met some distance from land he will frequently enter the canoe for refuge or for rest, and instances have been known where the occupant has been so alarmed as to jump overboard and swim ashore in order to escape from this malignant reptile.
Maria Theresa specifications
length: 14 ft
beam: 28 ft 8 in.
amidships depth: 9 in.
bow height: 23 in.
stern height: 21 in.
weight: 58 lbs.
The canoe’s paper skin was about one eighth of an inch thick. The craft was fitted with a pair of removable steel outriggers, two seven foot spruce oars and a double paddle of similar length. The mast and sail—which proved useless and were soon discarded—weighed six pounds.
Bishop provides other details:
“When I took on board at Philadelphia the canvas deck-cover and the rubber strap which secured it in position, and the outfit—the cushion, sponge, provision-basket, and a fifteen-pound case of charts—I found that, with my own weight included (130 lbs.), the boat and her cargo, all told, provisioned for a long cruise, fell considerably short of the weight of three Saratoga trunks containing a very modest wardrobe for a lady’s four weeks’ visit at a fashionable watering-place.”
“She’s the dog-gonedest thing I ever seed, and jist as putty as a new coffin!” – A river raftsman admiring the Maria Teresa’s beautiful finish.
So what about the company that built Nathaniel Bridge’s paper canoe….check out this article, American Heritage: When Paper Boats Were King, by Ken Cupery, which outlines the history of Waters & Sons Co.
There is a whole website dedicated to paper boats, appropriately named Ken’s Paper Boat Page, which was compiled by Ken Cupery, a paper boat historian and advocate (Ken was the author of the article previously noted).
There is a short article on the history of paper boats on this, A Short History of Paper Boats….and more, also written by Mr. Cupery which expands on the story of the Waters Paper Boat Factory in Troy, New York. This and other articles on Ken’s Paper Boat Page covers most of the history (as well as the design and the science involved) of paper boats, including paper canoes….a story that seems overlooked by many….but obviously unique. There are other online resources specifically on paper canoes, including:
The Tinnes/Cupery High-Tech Epoxy/Paper Paper Canoe….an article by Ken Cupery on a paper canoe he helped build
A Paper Canoe….a blog that looks at ‘studies in adhesives, wood butchery, and stinginess’
As far as I know the Canadian Canoe Museum doesn’t have a paper canoe in their collection….
Then I found about one made out of sheep poo paper (I’m definitely sure that the Canoe Museum doesn’t have one of these LOL LOL)….check out these links for more:
From Canoe & Kayak UK: News:
The Poo Canoe
LawrenceToms Posted on08 Jul 2009
Bit a strange one this morning… A canoe made of Poo! Well kind of, it’s made of paper that’s made of poo. We wonder if they come with a free nose-clip? The poo FLOATS! For the past 3 months Lez Paylor, partner in quirky paper business www.SheepPooPaper.com has been tucked away in a slate shed in Snowdonia building what must surely be the most unusual water craft ever dreamt up . . . At 5.5 metres long ‘The Poo Canoe’ is built on the frame of a two man ‘Folbot’ as used by the Special Boat Service during World War II for covert ship to shore operations. However, dispensing with the standard Folbot canvas sleeve Lez has used Sheep Poo PaperTM and a flour and water paste to cover the frame with a thin but resilient skin of paper. Finishing the canoe with beeswax in the cockpit (donated by www.BritishWax.com) and a new soya bean extract resin Envirez, which (whilst untested) promises to waterproof the paper skin. The Poo Canoe is being taken for its first in-water test on Sunday 19th July and is scheduled to be paddled out from the jetty at Bala Water Sports (www.BalaWaterSports.com) at midday. If the first water trial doesn’t end in a soggy, spluttering swim for shore Lez and his business partner Lawrence (Toms) are planning to paddle The Poo Canoe all the way to France to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance, who are always available to help people when they are proverbially ‘up poo creek without a paddle’ . . . When the sponsorship appeal is launched people will be able to pledge and sponsor the attempt at www.SheepPooPaper.com Crossing the channel is a serious business, it is the second busiest commercial shipping lane in the world, and it is unlikely that any major freight or ferry will be able to stop before riding clean over The Poo Canoe, the boys will therefore be training hard to make sure that they not only have the endurance muscle to get across, but also the power to accelerate out of the way of ships. When this project was first suggested Lawrence joined the Channel Swimmers Association and has been training in the swimming pool in the firm belief that being able to swim 15 miles in cold water might become suddenly necessary . . . Contacts: Lawrence Toms: 07870 418745 Lawrence@CreativePaperWales.co.uk Lez Paylor: 01654 761401 Lez@CreativePaperWales.co.uk
Canoe Made From Sheep Poo To Cross English Channel
by Lloyd Alter, Toronto (July 27, 2009)
Lawrence Toms and Lez Paylor make paper from sheep poo in Wales, which is a story in itself. They are so confident of their product that they have covered a kayak frame with it using a flour and water glue, treated the interior with beeswax and the exterior with “Envirez™, a nautical grade resin made from soya beans”, and are planning to cross the English Channel in it. Their maiden voyage did not inspire confidence.
From BBC News: Channel Challenge In A Poo Canoe (July 15, 2009):
A pair of entrepreneurs are planning to paddle to France in a special canoe consisting largely of paper made from sheep poo.
Snowdonia-based Lez Paylor and Lawrence Toms tested their craft in Bala, Gwynedd, and now plan a more ambitious trip across the English Channel.
The canoe frame is covered with a waterproofed skin made from sheep poo paper and a flour and water paste.
The pair’s Creative Paper Wales firm makes products from sheep poo paper.
Mr Toms said they hoped to paddle their canoe to France to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance.
“Rural Wales really depends on the air ambulance and if we can do something entirely preposterous and raise them a few quid, it would be a nice way to give something back,” he said.
Mr Toms and Mr Paylor said the poo canoe was built using the frame of a two-man vessel once used by the Special Boat Service during World War II for covert operations.
It is waterproofed using beeswax and a soya bean extract resin but Mr Toms is not entirely convinced their vessel is totally seaworthy.
“I’m not even confident it will operate in a bath!” he said.
“It was my business partner [Lez Paylor] who built it. I’ve been training in a swimming pool so I can swim 15 miles in cold water!”
The Bala maiden voyage supported some of Mr Toms’ concerns. Despite managing about five miles (8km), a small leak had caused a soggy patch about the size and shape of a sheep, he said.
From Sheep Poo Paper News:
April 2009 – The Poo Canoe is headed for France, er, when its been covered . . .
We have a plan – as everyone knows, one of the key features of poo is that it floats. Well, we’re counting on it because we are intending to cover the frame you see above with Sheep Poo Paper™ and paddle it to France – you, the viewing public will reward this patently lunatic ambition with meaningful sponsorship come the time, which monies will be diverted to the Wales Air Ambulance, who as everyone knows are the first to help you when you’re up poo creek without a paddle . . .
So what’s holding us up? Well, we’re on the hunt for a really good waterproof resin to coat the paper skin – and we want it to be as natural and environmentally friendly as possible. Oh, and we’re still training up to the point where we can swim 11 miles in cold water in case we sink at the half way point.
July 2009 – The Poo Floats! But can we float a 5.5 metre poo all the way to France? Sacre Bleu!!
The long search for an environmentally friendly resin complete, Lez has spent the last few months applying three layers of Sheep Poo Paper™ to the frame of The Poo Canoe using a flour and water glue, before finishing off the interior of the cockpit with a layer if beeswax (kindly donated by www.BritishWax.com) and then a finishing coat of Envirez™, a nautical grade resin made from soya beans . . . as yet untested in the UK . . . As Lawrence and Lez gingerly stepped into The Poo Canoe for its first water test at Bala Water Sports on Llyn Tegid on Tuesday this month, it occurred to them both that they might have been wiser to have assembled a deep water rescue team rather than a cameraman from Reuters. Paddling the world’s first craft made from poo out into the deep water in a couple of sweeping loops to test its speed, balance and manoeuvrability they were delighted on all three counts, and spirits were high.
However, on inspecting the hull for any leaks they were dismayed to find a large wet patch underneath the resin coating – it seems a small constellation of pinholes in this layer had allowed water in – and as the boat beneath the resin relies completely on being bone dry for its strength, where the water has seeped in the skin was as strong as, er, well, as strong as three sheets of soggy paper, and on the point of catastrophic failure . . . The Poo Canoe has been returned to the workshop for a thorough dry-out and some more Envirez™.
Confident that The Poo Canoe can be rapidly returned to full seaworthiness in short order however, the boys are today announcing their intention to attempt a channel crossing in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance. They will set the date for this intrepid channel crossing as soon as the sponsorship target is met – this target is to raise 1 penny for every ten sheep inWales, and with the current estimate at 11,978,590 the sponsorship target is set at £11,978.59 . . .
how its made:
As every craftsperson will tell you, it all begins by using only the very finest materials. We take great care to collect super-fresh sheep poo from the beautiful (and rainy) mountains of ruralWalesand take it back to the mill, situated in southern Snowdonia. We don’t just make Sheep Poo Paper™ and for our other papers we use waste paper, rag and textile off-cuts and just about anything else we can think of that has good length cellulose fibers in it. Of course, we don’t use tree – we like trees.
The sheep poo we have collected is completely sterilized by boiling it in a specially designed pressure cooker at over 120 degrees centigrade (using only the purest Welsh mountain water, of course) and then washed repeatedly over a period of days until it has lost approximately half its original weight (Sheep Fact: a sheep only digests 50% of the cellulose fibers it eats).
The washing process produces a big pile of usable fibers and, as a by-product it also produces a clean, sterile, rich, liquid fertilizer which we store in a tank at the mill and pass on to local growers.
It takes many hours to beat the cellulose fiber and blend it with other recycled pulps until it reduces to a pulp suitable for making paper. This is a difficult process to get right and the exact method is a closely guarded secret.
Using only traditional papermaking techniques we then form the pulp into sheets using special sieves (called a “mould and deckle”) and lay them out in stacks using felt in between each sheet to keep them from sticking together.
The stacked and felted sheets are then pressed under huge pressure to remove most of the remaining water and encourage the cellulose fibers to bond at a molecular scale – this is what gives the paper its strength. Hanging the paper up in the roof rafters of the mill to season them finishes off the drying process.
We also make some of our paper using a very old working example of a ‘Fourdrinier’ continuous papermaking machine which we periodically hire from a UK papermaking museum – this machine sprays the liquid pulp onto a continuous moving mesh and the water is squeezed out between heated rollers – this gives a stunningly smooth finish, although you can still see the flecks in the paper that come from the sheep poo.
All photos from the respective online sites noted.
There are a couple of YouTube videos on the poo canoe:
So that’s the story of the poo canoe….or is that poo kayak (it really doesn’t rhyme though)….double paddles are used….but then think about the old saying: ‘getting the blank end of the stick….so with a double paddle which end would that be LOL LOL. (NOTE: Actually that’s all of the story I could find on the poo canoe – or kayak – there was nothing about any actual attempt across the English Channel….certainly nothing about a completion of such a trip.)
Talk about being up a creek without a paddle….a poo creek (that is) without a paddle!!!!
So that is a quick overview of the amazing story of paper canoes (and other paper watercraft)….
Paddles up until later then….and remember there’s more to a paper canoe than just one made out of folded newspaper. Much more.
After posting the previous post, Our Home And Native Land?!?!?….OR Is It Our Home On Native Land?????, I found the following on Facebook, and just had to share:
On Canada’s 100th birthday, Chief Dan George silenced a crowd of 32,000 with his ‘Lament for Confederation’ at Empire Stadium.
Photograph by: Glenn Baglo , Vancouver Sun file photo
On Canada’s 100th birthday, Chief Dan George silenced a crowd of 32,000 with his “Lament for Confederation” at Empire Stadium. George’s mournful speech began with, “Today, when you celebrate your hundred years, oh Canada, I am sad for all the Indian people throughout the land.”
George — chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, a Coast Salish band in North Vancouver – was also an author, poet and an Academy Award nominated actor. But above all, he was an activist and an influential speaker on the rights of native peoples of North America. Some of this activism may have stemmed from the fact that, at the age of five, George was placed in a residential school where his First Nations language and culture were prohibited. His “Lament for Confederation” — a scathing indictment of the appropriation of native territory by white colonists — was his most famous speech.
What follows is the complete text:
Lament for Confederation
How long have I known you, Oh Canada? A hundred years? Yes, a hundred years. And many, many seelanum more. And today, when you celebrate your hundred years, Oh Canada, I am sad for all the Indian people throughout the land.
For I have known you when your forests were mine; when they gave me my meat and my clothing. I have known you in your streams and rivers where your fish flashed and danced in the sun, where the waters said ‘come, come and eat of my abundance.’ I have known you in the freedom of the winds. And my spirit, like the winds, once roamed your good lands.
But in the long hundred years since the white man came, I have seen my freedom disappear like the salmon going mysteriously out to sea. The white man’s strange customs, which I could not understand, pressed down upon me until I could no longer breathe.
When I fought to protect my land and my home, I was called a savage. When I neither understood nor welcomed his way of life, I was called lazy. When I tried to rule my people, I was stripped of my authority.
My nation was ignored in your history textbooks – they were little more important in the history of Canada than the buffalo that ranged the plains. I was ridiculed in your plays and motion pictures, and when I drank your fire-water, I got drunk – very, very drunk. And I forgot.
Oh Canada, how can I celebrate with you this Centenary, this hundred years? Shall I thank you for the reserves that are left to me of my beautiful forests? For the canned fish of my rivers? For the loss of my pride and authority, even among my own people? For the lack of my will to fight back? No! I must forget what’s past and gone.
Oh God in heaven! Give me back the courage of the olden chiefs. Let me wrestle with my surroundings. Let me again, as in the days of old, dominate my environment. Let me humbly accept this new culture and through it rise up and go on.
Oh God! Like the thunderbird of old I shall rise again out of the sea; I shall grab the instruments of the white man’s success-his education, his skills- and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society.
Before I follow the great chiefs who have gone before us, Oh Canada, I shall see these things come to pass. I shall see our young braves and our chiefs sitting in the houses of law and government, ruling and being ruled by the knowledge and freedoms of our great land.
So shall we shatter the barriers of our isolation. So shall the next hundred years be the greatest in the proud history of our tribes and nations.
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