War Canoe Talking Circle

Post watching a) Cheema War Canoe - 2012 Olympics and b) Canada Summer Games War Canoe.

The First Nation youth answer the questions candidly of a past President of Canoe Kayak B.C. in regards to the sport of mainstream war canoe.

September 13, 2013.

Video 1https://youtu.be/bmwgr2HB8vA

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "FN war canoe racing as I recall has been going on the Island for 20 plus years especially in Ladysmith, some First Nations athletes have tried it, but the cultures are different, and they seem not to stay, or the cost of travelling to compete impacts their participation, because Bands do not invest in their youth as the white person does."

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 1: The canoe we have been using for thousands of years. But not even 100 years ago they go ahead and say hey, we're going to take the war canoe and we're going to change it right up!.

Brother 2: Money shouldn't really be a problem for the First Nation people. Canada should help out the First Nation people like they said they would do. Theres an Indian act that says they will help all First Nations people and their rights.

Brother 3: White people are different from natives. They just took the canoe and they said oh well make this a racing war canoe. We don't care about the natives, we'll just take it right from them and change it up. It's Stupid.

Video 2https://youtu.be/ixF9JWF-NJc

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "I would also check back in History of the Mic Mac Club in Nova Scotia, it's history is of the Mic Mac First Nations and may have some connections".

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 2: There's not only relations to the Mic Mac people theres relationship to the canoe with all the First peoples of Canada. Every community on the west coast of British Columbia used the canoe for hundreds and thousands of years.

Video 3https://youtu.be/gBWFWvRU5lE

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "I just do not get all the slamming of the system."

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 2: We're not being negative we are telling the truth. Today the truth is coming out today that the canoe belongs to us. It's not hurtful, it's the truth and we're telling you the truth. If you cant handle the truth, step back and leave it alone.

Video 4https://youtu.be/CrXJebnyr-M

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "I am sorry, But I do not agree with your argument on this. Because the boat is not their boat or their form of paddling, and therefore in my view can be called anything they want."

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 1: First of all, its not about.... It's a canoe, they have that term war canoe. They don't know how to use the term war canoe thats why they call it a boat.

Brother 2: I think the person who sent the email (A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. ) is completely illiterate as he doesn't know anything about history or culture to the First Nations people or the First Nations People of Canada. The whole west coast of North America First Peoples paddled the oceans on Canoes and as First Nations people we had six different paddles that we use. Theres the Norther Interior, the Southern Interior and the West Coast. The person is illiterate of the history of the canoe because you don't call it a boat. It's just disrespectful of the canoe and the canoe is a living thing. You treat that canoe with respect. The person doesn't know anything about a canoe, the canoe belongs to us, First Nations people and the white people took that away from us.

Video 5https://youtu.be/Ctsh3ySotQ0

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "Is it the fault of the CCA or of government as to why the FN schools were established, what effect or impact did CCA have on or of the FN"

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 2: First of all the Government of Canada has a really big impact in the residential school because you can see in history that in 2009 the Prime Minister made a public apology to all First Nations people and that's the relationship between the Government of Canada and the residential schools. I learned in school that the government of Canada made Catholics and churches take indian children from their communities, right from their homes and put them in residential schools which they knew nothing about and they were tortured there.

Brother 1: Not only was it the church and Catholic people, It was the English and the Germans. My grandma says they were the worst, the English. She just hates English people now and Germans. She has no sympathy for them. The term they are using War Canoe its just Im saying this over and over again there mistreating it, they have no respect for it, no love, no passion for it when they are paddling. All their doing is trying to go to the finish line and their trying to make history.

Brother 2: What rights to they have when the paddling people of Canada are white. Where does the rights of their canoe come from? How do they have the right to use a Canoe? Where does it come from their oral history? I never hear of anyone speak of their oral history and how they got to use the canoe. Because the canoes belong to the First Nations people and we have a lot of oral history to tell. There are elders alive today that can tell about our canoes.

Video 6https://youtu.be/JCobt7xvhq0

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "The Canadian Canoe Association has been racing these boats 100 years plus or minus, and again they are not the same boat only the event has the same name."

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 2: We've been using canoes longer than white people have. The only reason white people started using canoes is after they took it away from us and then they learned how to use it. We as First Nations people, they look at how we used the canoe and then they literally took it away from us without thinking we should respect these people because they respect their canoe.

Brother 1: If the event, the war canoe and the boat is not the same. Then they should just totally change the name of the war canoe. They have no right to do that, the guy knows nothing about the war canoe.

Brother 2: Why not just call it a racing boat instead? Because they don't know the official term of War Canoe or where it comes from. War Canoes come from First Nations peoples. In fact in our days, we use to go to war in canoes with other First Nations communities to fight for territory and to fight for food. Not saying we didn't have a lot of food, but to go to war and a long time ago we use to go in our canoes big 42 foot dugouts with about 20 healthy men on board the canoe with all our weapons,  bow and arrows, our spears, and we use to paddle for over 25 miles to that community just to go to war with them and fight over territory. That's the term of War Canoe. It's a totally difference concept then the war canoe in the modern day that the white people use.

Video 7 - https://youtu.be/RgImCsPQF1Q

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "The history speaks for itself, The government keep making errors especially with First Nations issues. But for your paddlers to make it to the Olympics they will have to through the CCA structure. Because they will always want the one on one race off for the right to compete, unless you are a canoe paddler and then the side of the boat you paddle will be considered"

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 1: They have no history, they can't be saying that. they have no history with the war canoe. It was our history.

Brother 3: They're making their own history the wrong way.

Brother 2: Again the canoe doesn't belong to CanoeKayak Canada. They have no rights to keep that passion away from us, that was our daily lives along time ago that our ancestors used.

Brother 1: Just because they tried taking our native right out of us. We were trying to get into that canoe while CanoeKayak Canada is not letting us do that. We are trying to bring our tradition back, we are trying to get our language back.

Brother 2: And we are having a hard time doing that.

Brother 1: And we have these white people trying to take it away from us again. Nothing has changed.

Brother 2: The only reason we are having a hard life right now is because of the white people. They took our language, our culture, and our pot laches away from us. If the white people didn't come and invade Canada, you know take over Canada and say this is our land and put it on a paper. No it doesn't belong to you, it belongs to Aboriginal people. And our Aboriginal Elders, theres a story about white people, the invaders, they call them the visitors that never left.

Brother 1: It's funny that CanoeKayak Canada thinks that they own the war canoe and that they have the choice if us natives can go to the Olympics.

Brother 2: They shouldn't even be thinking about that because people know that the First Nations culture that the canoe belongs to us. We have the rights to take that canoe and bring it to the Olympics. Bring an all Aboriginal team to the Olympics and they will see us compete and win. Its an underdog story.

Video 8 - https://youtu.be/QgHPMViWUoY

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "Which FN's are pissed about it"

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 2: I would say all the First Nations people of the west coast. The Gitksan, Tsimshian, Heiltsuk, the Nuu-chah-nulth people,  the Kwakwakw'wakw, the Coast Saalish. I could name all the people that are pissed off with it but it will take a long time.