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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Journey of  Nishiyuu

(Nishiyuu is Cree for human beings.  In nearly all aboriginal languages they refer to themselves as human beings or the people )

A wonderful journey of 1600 km has just been completed by a small ground of Cree youth from Northern Quebec to our Nation's Capital,  Ottawa.  They have my admiration.  Here is the map 

It began as an idea in the mind of 16 year old David Kawapit who was inspired by the Idle No More protests begun last year. In particular he admired the hunger strike protest of Chief  Spence from the Appawapiskat First Nation.  

It was a small band of six youth and a spiritual advisor/guide which set out from the Cree community of Whapagoostui at the Mouth of the Great Whale River. It has a sister community of Inuit on the other shore of this river, Kuujjaaraapik First Nation. These are remote communities with no road access. The first leg in the travel will was to  Chisasibi First Nation about 200 km to the south.  The journey began in mid January when the temperatures in that part of Canada are regularly -30C and often as cold as -50C . The group was to travel on snowshoes, dragging toboggans with all their gear including tents they would sleep in along the way when they were beyond the hospitality of other First Nations along they way as they passed through the historic territories of the Cree, the Anishinaabi, Algonquins, Mohawks and others. This was a spiritual and political journey.   Only an aboriginal group with a close and spiritual tie to the land would confidently start out on such a potentially dangerous trek.  It would require the wisdom of Elders, before they left and drawing on the  age old skills and technology that one needed to survive. This was an historic route that would link First Nations Communities..  Along the way others would join in so that when they reached Ottawa there would be many times their numbers. It was thousands of aboriginal and non aboriginal people what filled the streets of Ottawa and traveled up to the front of the parliament buildings.  These young people wanted the politicians and all of Canada to know that the Idle No More movement was not over.  First Nation's people have grievances of long standing and they want the Conservative Government of  Stephen Harper, which has recently passed legislation that affected First Nation's people negatively, (compounding the problems) know they wanted to be heard followed by some positive action.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper chose not to be present to greet this group. He was  at Trenton Military Base in Ontario welcoming two panda bears from China.  It seems a couple of relatives of the raccoon family were more important than First Nation's youth and their concerns.  Aboriginal struggles include having treaties honoured, services adequately delivered,  respect for the contribution of the First Nation's people and  fully  recognizing their unique constitutionally guaranteed place in Canada.

Setting out for Ottawa

Canada being such a vast country treks of one kind or another across the country go on every years usually in the summer. I live not far from the Trans Canada Highway so there are may  sightings  each year of people walking, running, cycling, horseback riding etc across the country as a personal challenge for some and/or to raise funds for a  charity.  I also live close to the historic main fur trade route so there are frequent canoe trips across Canada in one direction or the other. reliving the voyageur adventure.  Two of the many wonderful canoe trips I have always admired  are about. Eric Sevareid   (the journalist) on graduating from high school , in 1930, canoed from Minnesota to Hudson's Bay and the trip about two fellows  canoed from New York City to Nome Alaska over two summers. These and countless others are all great adventures and fun to follow along.

Historically there have been many great treks across parts of Canada. I have been fascinated by many of these. It always dismay be who people say Canadian history is boring. If you cared to read about the travels of many early Canadians it is anything but boring.  Many adventurers, trappers, surveyors and others have set out to travel on the land of excitement or profit,  Some paid  with their life. Many kept diaries and maps we can enjoy today.  One of these I admired the most is Samuel Hearne. He traveled a lot in the Barren Lands. He was the first European to travel overland to the Arctic. His diaries are a wonderful read. These travels were very challenging and strenuous treks that few would even consider today. I believe it was Hearne who spend the Summer and Fall one years doing a 3000 mile circuit around the eastern Barren Lands reaching Thompson Manitoba as Winter was setting in. Not wanting to be trapped at Thompson for the who Winter he set out in January alone to snowshoe to Fort Chippewa, 1000 miles away. He carried little counting on feeding  and sheltering himself off the land along the way. He apparently thought little of doing this. Today if someone was to attempt it he could be considered to be foolish.  It was his trip that I remembered when I learned of the Cree youth from Whapagoostui..First Nation.


At 10:52 p.m., Blogger JACKIESUE said... wonderful is that..

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At 11:58 a.m., Blogger Vagabonde said...

I read your last two posts and enjoyed them a lot. I did not know much about the new Pope but hearing he was from Argentina I wondered what was his position during the atrocities there – I guess he did not do much and I am not surprised. As for your Canadian president’s lack of involvement with Cree youth, I was surprised. I thought that the Canadian government was a lot more involved with their First Nation than here in the US.

Years ago as I was going to Montreal that summer I wanted to read a better history of Canada than I had studied in school (in France.) I went to local bookstores here in the Atlanta area and could find nothing under “International History.” So I went into “North America history” nothing there either. I went to at least 3 bookstores. They told me that this was “specialized” that I could order a book if I had the author, that no one was interested in Canada’s history so they did not stock it . Fortunately I was flying to see my mother in Paris and found a book in French, but I did not forget it.

At 7:52 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

That's a long trek and then to be less important than a pair of pandas was a real slap in the face. Typical politically, though.

At 10:17 a.m., Blogger Owen Gray said...

The fact that Mr. Harper chose to spend his time with panda bears rather than native people tells how how much he is committed to improving the lot of people who were here long before the Harper clan arrived, Philip.

Shame on the man.


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