Canoes on my mind

I’m beginning to think that I have an obsession with canoes.  I can’t seem to get them out of my mind.  I even wake up in the middle of the night and think about canoes.  Strange.  Why canoes?  Why not cars or airplanes?

The answer is quite simple, canoes have always been the backbone of the life style of the Sechelt Nation.  We are the People of The Big Water and we live by The Salish Sea.

The Ancient Ones came to look upon canoes as healers, not that they could heal a physical illness or disease, but they have a way of helping us deal with whatever is bothering us, and miraculously healing takes place; consider this:

The moment One steps into a canoe our life begins to change for the better.  You experience a sense of rejuvenation and spiritual healing that sparks to life almost immediately.  If you reflect upon it, it’s very much like one of those sparklers that kids are so fond of lighting up on Halloween night.  You can feel the glow and the warmth that floods your entire being.  It feels like a spiritual experience because it is.  The wind, the air, the sun or rain, all join in to begin healing your very soul.  It begins on the epidermis or skin level of your body.  You can actually feel the calming, healing balm when it makes contact with your skin.  Like a match that is dropped into a field of tinder-dry grass you will feel it sweep over your body.  It will penetrate each layer of your being until it reaches the very marrow of your bones.  An inner stillness, a quiet contentment begins to take hold of you, and you are at peace with the sea and with yourself.  You take in a couple of big draughts of air and you can feel Life traveling through your system.  You feel stronger.  You are stronger.  You begin to feel whole again.  You begin to look forward to a challenge.

You take up a paddle and it is an extension of your arm; it feels so natural.  You dip the blade into the sea and the water speaks to your soul.  Can you hear what it’s saying?  Do you think it’s an accident that some churches have what they call holy water?  They took the idea from Aboriginal People who knew and understood the true meaning of Holy Water.  Dip your hand into the sea and it will immediately sense the make-up of your DNA and it will bond with you.  You just need to be open to receive this great gift.  It can be a most humbling experience.  You may want to cry or laugh or act giddy.  It is different for each individual, but rest assured, it will nudge you towards the correct action for you.

Canoes were also important because there were no commercial ways of travelling or sending messages available for us to use in the old days.  There were just our canoes.  We used a canoe for everything.  When messages needed to be distributed in the olden days, a canoe and paddlers were dispatched to deliver it; and it didn’t matter how far away the message had to travel.  Sometimes it took months for the messengers to deliver the news.  Canoes were the backbone of our communities.  They brought us good news and sad news, but we were always informed of what was happening all over the British Columbia Coast.

The same thing could be said of any group of people that needed to move around the Province in those days of long ago.  It would have been impossible to walk everywhere, given our many mountain ranges, so the government agents, the RCMP, the Hudson Bay Co. and ordinary citizens utilized the Indian canoe as a means of travel, it made sense to those people who knew next to nothing about surviving in an inhospitable environment.  The Indian canoe must have been a great blessing to those people.  I wonder if they ever got around to thanking those that introduced them to the canoe?

So, you see, perhaps my preoccupation with canoes isn’t really obsessive, it’s just a needful step in the right direction.  Use your imagination for a moment and consider this:  If our habitat, the Sunshine Coast, was a single, living entity, it would be struggling to survive because of the way we abuse it with drugs, alcohol and needless violence.  It would be to the benefit of every person from Egmont to Langdale to be concerned for the health and welfare of this Friendly Giant that we call home.

We need to begin healing the wounds our Habitat is suffering from.  We need to make a concerted fight against the wrongs being done to this land.  We MUST salvage our young people or there will be no tomorrow for the human race as we know it.  We are going to hell in a hand basket as the saying goes.  It’s time for every single person, regardless of age, colour or religion to say, “I love the Sunshine Coast.  This is my home!  I want to see it flourish.  I want to help solve its growing problems.  What can I do to help?”


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