Chief Wilmer Noganosh being presented with a gift
on the behalf of the Municipality of St. Charles
Golfing on Friday turned out to be a lot of fun afterall. I was with some really great people and it turned out to be a really nice day. Those little electric carts sure gave me a good time too! I want one of those . . .
Saturday was an extraordinary day. We attended the native pow-wow at the visitor centre where my painting was presented to Chief Wilmer Noganosh. Meeting the chief was such an honour! He certainly is an great man. Every once in a while, we're fortunate enough to meet people that just seem to be extra special. You can feel this special something exude from them, and even though you don't exactly know what it is, you just know you're in the presence of someone special. Chief Wilmer is such a man. Upon meeting him, you can instantly feel his warmth and wisdom.
After the presentation, Chief Wilmer took me aside and brought me to one of the exhibits in the center where his voice is recorded, telling an Ojibway story about how birds received their colours. I'll tell my quick version.
In the beginning, the birds, which were all white, begged the Creator to change their colours since being all white made them easy prey. The Creator understood and one by one, began painting the birds to give them colours. Throughout the painting process, the crows kept cawing, interrupting, and making noise. The crows were impatient and wanted to be painted immediately. The Creator warned the crows to be silent and wait their turn, but the crows just wouldn't stop. Because of this, they were last and were made black. This upset the crows, which all gave a loud "caw". Since then, "caw" means "no". The moral of this story is that the loudest will be made to wait until the end. They will be last. When it comes to the Creator, the truism about the squeaky wheel isn't necessarily true.
The pow-wow was also an amazing event to experience. It was such a miserable, rainy day, but the natives had held a ceremony early that morning, asking the Creator to put aside the rains until the ceremonies were over. Now, I am not a superstitious person, but this was amazing. The pow-wow area was full of spectators, all standing in the rain, doing what they could to remain comfortable while patiently waiting for the ceremonies to begin. As soon as they begun and the drums started, the rain came to a stop. It held off throughout. When the ceremonies ended and the drums stopped, the rain started again. Then, later on, more ceremonies began with the beat of the drum, and mysteriously, the rain would stop again and the sun would even try to peek out. It continued this way all day, and I really must say it was a mystical experience. Each time that drum beat began, the rain stopped. It was an amazing thing to witness and needed to be mentioned.
I should mention that if ever you're in Northern Ontario, driving down Hwy 69, do look for this visitor centre in the French River area. It's not really marked. All you'll see is a rest stop sign and a huge suspension bridge hanging over the French River. Coming from Toronto, it's just before the bridge, coming from the west, just after. It's really worth the stop to visit the centre, all of the museum displays, learn about the discovery of the North, and native culture. There are also hiking trails, and you can walk on the large bridge, which was newly built as part of the skidoo (snow machine) trails. The centre itself is architectually amazing and resembles a river, flowing down and around. You follow this river as you visit the exhibits, until it leads you to the end of the river, standing on a glass floor as though you were standing on water, looking down in the river. It's really something else to see!
I've also brought my supplies up to my kitchen and have started on a new horse piece. It's a little awkward working from the kitchen, with the lighting and set up not being the greatest, but at least I get to paint. Hopefully I'll be able to post it by tomorrow evening.