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On May 16, Dr. Rick Van Loon gave an OSFAS lecture to a large, appreciative audience: Hard Travel: 6000 years up the Ottawa River and into the West. Lorraine Rekmans, an Algonquin, was in the audience and was inspired to compose the poem below. OSFAS is hoping that Rick Van Loon will give a follow-up lecture in 2020.

In the Middle of the Canoe – May 2019

The sacred Askikou was revered by all our ancestors
But now my people are relegated to the middle of the canoe
When we would leave Montreal in May
And travel 18 hours a day,
Paddling together up the River of Tessouat,
Fighting off the mosquitoes together,
My people would paddle and steer
Taking us both to the great land of beaver
But now, you have moved us to the middle of the canoe
And we see the treacherous rapids ahead,
And we call out to you,
Who have the paddles and the bow
But you do not hear us above the thunderous noises that Kichissipi makes
We who know this land
Its rivers and its lakes,
Its mountains and its ranges
At the front of the canoe,
You have estranged us.
___________________
7,000 years ago
Wearing the Obsidian
In a dugout canoe
The sun
Filtered through
The silver birches along the shore
Lorraine Rekmans ©2019

2019 Fall Program

October 3, 2019: “A Tradition of Journeys to Hell and Back: 2000 years of divine and human journeys to hell from the middle east, Greece and Rome in the period before Christ” with Ray Clarke of the University of Ottawa

November 2019: “Science in the Cinema” with Larry Kardish

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