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Canoe trip could grow by more than a few strokes

by Ken Johnston


That is a rhythm that was heard hundreds of years as big ships had many men rowing oars in times when the winds were calm across the oceans.

Similarly the voyageurs of a couple hundred years often paddled the Rainy River to the beat of a drum or a rhythm. They also sang songs and challenged the wilderness.

While the four canoeists from the United Native Friendship Center were not the voyageurs of yesteryear, they were in a way the same at heart when they paddled from Fort Frances to Rainy River last week.

Sure they had a cell phone for emergencies. Sure their canoes were made of plastic and not wood. And sure they were not very far from civilization as they travelled the populated river. But they were strong at heart as they had a positive set of goals in mind that showed their true spirit. They hoped to raise money to allow them to put programs on that are truly beneficial to area youth. They also hoped to raise awareness of their existence. They achieved both these goals at all their stops along the way.

They also tangled with the strength of Mother Nature much the same way the voyageurs did and tipped one of their canoes in the rapids.

These men deserve a great deal of credit for coming up with a new but historically significant way to raise money and awareness.

Next year it will likely be much bigger and who knows maybe their goals to raise awareness will grow in a big way no one ever dreamed possible.

Maybe the trip from Fort to Rainy River will turn into a week long celebration of both native and non-native history along the river and all communities in between will join in.

–Until then,