Wahnapitae Canoe Build Indefinitely Cancelled

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We had requested a band council resolution, or at least letter of support from the Wahnapitae FN chief and council, and to also have plans for dates of a build confirmed, to be provided by no later than Sept. 14th. This has still not yet been provided, by that date or since to this moment in time.

We also requested that the build be done at the band office. We were sent an email from Chief Larry Roque stating issues with having a build done at the band office, all which seemed manageable despite the stated concerns; it was also suggested the pow wow grounds be used but obviously without considerations of the cooler weather now upon us or the impossible task of doing so in winter or in early spring in an outside location.

This is what we had stated just last month:

“I still want to do a community canoe build at Wahnapitae….maybe at band office….with an Anishinaabemowin immersion camp component for 1 or even 2 weeks.

We have spoken to the Ontario Arts Council and the funding we got for this build through their Indigenous Culture Fund has a two year window and we have been given an extension. Until late next spring. So we may try to start up the build over the winter or even early spring. Dates and location are still being sorted out.

To make this truly work as a community build it needs to be coordinated through the band….to bring all sides together….to pull everyone together no matter what family you might be from.


We could bring in folks from outside communities even….Indigenous or non-Indigenous would be welcome.

Everyone involved from outside Wahnapitae FN could stay at the cabins at Rocky’s….

We would stipulate that no drugs and no alcohol be allowed during the time involved building the canoe….or while at the language camp.

Other funding could be gotten….given we now have more time for sure….so can keep cost minimal to Wahnapitae FN if at all.

BUT we would want the support of the band….in either a Band Council Resolution or some other form of written support.”

We have done our part as best we could….even got an extension from OAC….but to go back up to Wahnapitae and do so properly we needed much more funding than what is left from this OAC funding. We have not really ever been provided by much if any support from the current chief and council (no offense intended to any of them as we realize the other likely more pressing matters that they have to deal with)….BUT we could have added much needed funding without any cost to the community with just a simple band council resolution or letter of support….this was not supplied. We also wanted a commitment to our stipulation of no drugs or alcohol being allowed during the time involved building the canoe….or while at the language camp.

Therefore we do not think we will be able to complete the birchbark canoe build as originally planned at Wahnapitae FN. Not by the time provided by the Ontario Arts Council’s extension to our Indigenous Cultural Fund deadline which is now to the end of next May (2019). This ICF funding will have to be used on a similar project somewhere else.

And we are not sure that a canoe build is likely to happen even in the near future at Wahnapitae FN. We have other commitments and builds planned for elsewhere.

That we are sorry to say….we had really hoped to make this work at Wahnapitae. But perhaps it was just poor timing….or that the community was not quite ready….or just not enough interest in such things….or too many other issues happening. Whatever it was, we are sorry things did not work out as planned….we did try twice to make it happen….but guess it was not meant to be….and now highly unlikely to ever be.

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