Journey touches paths of our ancestors

  • Jul. 29, 2011 12:00 p.m.

submitted by Capt Gold, Na7ikun Qiigawaay clan–“My greatest joy is to see the pride and excitement reflected in the eyes of the Swan Bay canoe journey participants and the witness whom have seen our arrivals onto their shores”. We have just completed weeks of a wonderful journey that touched in a major way, the paths of our old Haida ancestors; we have seen the toughness required, the joy of accomplishments, and the beaming pride of the Haida Gwaii Watchmen who have seen our arrivals accompanied by our songs. I have seen the Swan Bay canoe journey participants grow daily in paddle strength and power of songs while learning to work as one united force in camp chores or on the canoe when we have travelled in Gwaii Hanaas. I have seen the visitors’ eyes filled with wonder and joy to be able to be a witness to this arrival of the 50 foot Haida War Canoe into their lives for a brief moment in time. We have enjoyed beyond tremendous, beyond total, beyond our lives scope of understanding, the canoe journey of a lifetime that momentarily we paddled into the wondrous world of our Haida ancestors. The journey began on a sunny day departure from the Swan Bay base and the focus of far destination point of land or a bay, became wiggly as the focus point shifted back and forth as my attention was distracted by the richness of the wildlife we passed by. The canoe was forgiving to me as I gradually settled my heart and soul to once again, sit in the canoe and travel by only human power. We left the old village of Swan Bay and swung north, to pass through village after village and in my mind, talked to the old ancestors to allow us safe passage which they totally granted to our canoe. I told stories of these old villages, the war stories, the deaths, the revenge raids, and peaceful events that reached powerful heights of accomplishments. We reached ancient villages that have been slowly but surely covered up by the inescapable march of the rich forest and my stories woke old memories.The Haida participants would remember some of the old stories and shared with the group. The rich world of Gwaii Hanaas wildlife opened its doors to our eyes and to our camera lens and our hearts. We ended the first group’s journey at the old village of Tanu, where as always, we were welcomed with pride by the Haida Gwaii Watchmen. Everyone begins the journey by circle formation in Swan Bay and then at Tanu, where we share stretching exercises or soul talk. Everyone also ends the journey this way and the first group leaves while the second arrives and we begin the return. Any Haida Gwaii Watchmen camp we arrived at, we made our selves useful in any way acceptable to the Watchmen so this made everyone happy. As steersmen for the Swan Bay Canoe Journey 2011, I am happy to send this report to the editor to be shared with the readership – Howa.

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