Friday, August 21, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The welcoming committee recounts their time with Ali Howard, NaiKun joins forces with the Haida Nation and First Nations explore more ways to tap into the tourism sector, a few of the items of note for Tuesday.

DAILY NEWS Headline Story, Tuesday, August 18, 2009
CANOERS SHARE A GREETING STEEPED IN TRADITION-- A group of local canoers were one of the first to welcome Ali Howard upon her arrival at Port Edward, the Daily News recounts those first few moments (see story here) Item is also provided at the end of this post.

NaiKun's quest to find a partner in its Wind Generation project has brought the Haida Nation on board, as both sign a memo of understanding to further their relationship on Haida Gwaii (see story here)

Seeking out new opportunities in the tourism sector is an item of interest to local First Nations, the Daily News outlines the efforts of Metlakatla Development Corporation and how it could lead the way to further possibilities for other First Nations of the North coast (see story here)

Golf items provide the sports section with its content for Tuesday.

MLA CANDIDATE FINANCIAL DETAILS RELEASED--The expenses and financing of the local candidates in the recent provincial election campaign are detailed (see story here)

PRPA HOSTING CONFERENE, AGM-- 170 guests will be making Prince Rupert their destination this weekend as the Port of Prince Rupert hosts a conference and Annual General Meeting . (see story here)

CITY OF PRINCE RUPERT SPEAKS OUT AGAINST HARMONIZED SALES TAX-- Prince Rupert Council prepares to take the fight agains the Harmonized Sales Tax to the UBCM, as council debates their position on the recently announced tax plans by the Campbell Liberals (see story here)

PORT TONNAGE IN LINE WITH 2008 NUMBERS-- The Port of Prince Rupert likes what it sees in its second quarter numbers for 2009, as the Port holds its figures despite the current slowdown of the world economy (see story here)

HAIDA TO TAKE AN OWNERSHIP ROLE IN NAIKUN PROJECT-- The NaiKun Wind Generation project finds an interested partner among its neighbours on Haida Gwaii (see story here)

Daily News, Front page, headline story:

Canoers share a greeting steeped in tradition
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Prince Rupert Daily News
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Pages one and five

A small group of people from Prince Rupert had the privilege of accompanying swimmer Ali Howard on the
last leg of her 610 km swim of the Skeena River Saturday morning.

Paddling a 42-foot fiberglass voyageur canoe, the all-ages crew met 33-year-old Howard and her support team at Cassiar Cannery in the water, floating slowly with the current, during the last hour of the swim.

With time to kill, so as not to arrive at North Pacific Cannery before schedule, the support team paddling in kayaks and canoes chatted with the Rupertites.

Team member Shannon McPhail, activist with the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, invited everyone to introduce themselves.

"Hi I'm Ali and I guess I just swam the Skeena," Howard said, breaking the ice.
She looked thoughtful as she floated in the water, close to kayaker Chris Gee of Hazelton who has been with her through the whole journey.

When Howard introduced herself, everyone else pounded their paddles against the boats in appreciation.

"Thank you elders for coming on this ride," McPhail called out, addressing the four elders in the voyageur canoe.

"It's an honour to paddle with you. We've been riding from Terrace in this Porche of a boat," McPhail added, referring to the war canoe the team has had on loan from artist Roy Henry Vickers.

Within a few moments of being asked by McPhail if the elders could sing a song or tell a story, elder Leonard Alexcee began singing on his own, the beat methodical, the tones low.

A big smile broke out on his face as people thanked him by banging their paddles against the boat again.

"I made up that song just now," Alexcee answered, with one of his notorious grins. "It means Come On. Let's Rock."

Pausing, he looked up again and said, "I ask the creator to keep the river clear and bring back the salmon every year. Ali, I officially welcome you here."

McPhail invited people in the large canoe to introduce themselves and share thoughts as to why they were along for the paddle.

For two in the group, it was their first time in a canoe, including elder Betty Comeau.

"This is amazing," Comeau commented.

Mona Alexcee said her ancestors made a living on the river.

"We can't hear their voices now, but I hope we're doing them justice with Ali bringing attention to the river.

Our people got their winter food along this river. My father told me you could almost walk on the backs of the salmon here at one time. It's an honour for me to be here in person to escort you in and look to the future. Thank you very much, Ali."

McPhail acknowledged feeling like the ancestors have supported the trip through all the gifts and help the team has received along the way.

"If anything had gone differently it could have gone very wrong," she said. "Things we didn't foresee esperately needing, fell into place."

As the Rupert canoe left the group to paddle down to North Pacific Cannery, leaving Howard to swim her last leg of the journey, Howard's brother Chris, who also lives in Telkwa, said the swim has made his sister realize she's happy when she's swimming.

"I think she's a little sad now that the swim is ending," he said. "She's emotionally attached to the river now and people are attached to her.

I think it's great."

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