Dip, Dip and Swing (2015) embroidery on birch bark, mixed media
Today is Canada Day, a national holiday in which we celebrate 148 years since Confederation. Above is the piece I have going in to the Canadiana show at the Gabriola Gallery. The canoe, one of Louis Nicolas's, is stitched with #8 perle cotton on birch bark. (The window is 3 1/2 by 5 inches.) The quote above is by Samuel de Champlain, commenting on how great the canoes of the "sauvages" are.
The canoe is, depending on who you are talking to, one of the great symbols of Canada, right up there with the beaver. For this day, Google has a lovely little vignette of what looks to be a multi-racial couple canoeing in the wilderness. That's supposedly what we pride ourselves on - our tolerance, our land's beauty, our connection to nature. These days much has changed - the government just passed legislation that will allow the citizenship of anyone who was born in another country to be revoked at the whim of a judge, we continue to allow the rampant exploitation of our natural resources, eco-friendly tourism such as canoe and kayak trips is being discouraged in favour of allowing oil tankers through our waters. And the Alberta Tar Sands are our national shame.

Am I being a big grump on a day I am supposed to celebrate? Maybe. But award-winning writer Joseph Boyden's article about our Truth and Reconciliation hearings is still burning in my mind. I hope you take the time to read it, especially if you are from a country other than Canada. We are more than simple, happy people out for a romantic trip in a canoe - our history has the complexity of great drama and tragedy and good and evil. I hope we can move forward in a way that honours all our people and the great mother Earth.


  1. listening to the stories, honouring the first people of all countries and their true connections to the spirit of place, we have a similar situation here in Australia, in 2008 Kevin Rudd the prime minister at the time made a formal apology to the Stolen Generation but our First People have since had harsh interventions placed on their communities, we all need to listen to the stories with respect & empathy & encourage each and every person to have heart with respect.


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