Sunday, August 17, 2008

Norway House and Manchester Airport

1827 – Friday August 17th

Morning rainy; took breakfast at six a.m. and continued under a strong breeze till four p.m., the last point of the lake when the wind failed. Pulled [ie. rowed] over the narrow bay to Norway House, where I found Messrs John Stuart and Cameron on their way to their winter quarters. Both these gentlemen showed me every kindness and informed me that Captain Back had passed two days before for Hudson’s Bay

2008 – Sunday August 17th

Packing almost complete, but as I stepped out of the shower this morning my lower back went Twang. Consequently I am somewhat bitter and twisted and in some discomfort. Sitting on planes for many hours tomorrow is absolutely not the right thing to do for a bad back but it is nevertheless what I’ll be doing. Aww; stop milking it, Woody. This wouldn’t have stopped David Douglas. No, but then he died at 35.
Norway House now

Annually, in the first week of August since 1973 the Norway House Cree Nation hosts the Treaty & York Boat Days. A summer festival that relives the community's history during the time of the fur trade and the accomplishments that resulted from the "will to succeed in life." These are symbolized in the famous and living icon enshrined in the community on the banks of the Nelson River.

The celebration honors those Cree, Metis and European settlers that carved out the community during a time when survival depended on an iron will and steady determination. The World Championship York Boat Races pays homage to the strength through determination of contestants from all over Manitoba and neighboring Provinces / States, who take it upon themselves to heave and thrust fifty pound oars in an effort to claim supremacy in the races. Sweat, calluses, and aching limbs are reminders of the tremendous stamina required to propel the mighty York Boat. "The race is part of our history. In the past, you had to be in good shape to take these boats from York Factory, filled with supplies and furs, to Norway House and on to markets in the South. In those days, there were routes along the mighty Nelson River and many times rough sailing on Lake Winnipeg. Today the race is a strong reminder of how hardy our people were." Treaty & York Boat days is a rich and many-colored showcase that highlights the culture of the Norway House Cree and welcomes people from all over the world to join in the celebration.

The Norway House Cree Nation is 450 air kilometers north of Winnipeg at the intersection of the Nelson River and Playgreen Lake. Norway House consists of approximately 124,219 acres. The language of the Norway House Cree Nation is Cree and English. Based on the Norway House Cree Nation membership office, the population as of December 31, 2004 was 6,019; the band has an on-reserve population of 4,460 and an off-reserve population of 1,559.

1827 – Saturday August 18th

Left Norway House at six a.m. in company with Mr Jos Bird, with whom I intend to complete the remainder of my journey. Passed at eight o’clock two canoes in Play Green Lake containing the men belonging to the Land Arctic Expedition on their way to Montreal. Made but little progress having a strong wind against us. At midday gained the lower establishment on Jack River. Learned with regret my Silver-Headed Eagle had died of starvation. I found every other thing safe. The roots, both dry and those hid in the wood, (on July 2nd) in good condition.

2008 – Monday August 18th

An advance post because tomorrow will be a travelling day. Next post will, with some luck, be from downtown Winnipeg. I fly out of Manchester mid-afternoon for Toronto, change planes in Toronto and stagger into Winnipeg at 10p.m. local time, which will be 4 a.m. by my body clock.

In the meantime, Wilma Wilbury will be holding things together here at Fort Wilbury. It hasn’t gone unremarked that I’ll be in Winnipeg on our wedding anniversary; our 36th wedding anniversary at that. Wilma Wilbury is very tolerant of these expeditions (thank goodness).

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