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Re: The Sword of Rita Joe

Thanks for the wonderful account Rob.  Wish I could have been there to see 
it all!


At 12:53 AM 11/09/00, you wrote:

>         Saturday September 9th shall go down as an historic day for the Clan
>Sinclair. The sun shone brightly upon the upper reaches of Boylston Park,
>Guysborough, Nova Scotia. The few clouds only served to keep away the
>debilitating heat which was the hallmark of the Prince Henry Sinclair
>Memorial Ceremony held on that same site in another age: July 14th, 1998.
>         The attendence list was more or less the same as yesterday (Rory 
> I hope
>will eventually fill in the names of the assembled guests - especially
>Sinclairs that you're wondering about), with a few notable additions,
>especially Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy, Don Julien, and Rita Joe.
>         Despite the presence of sparklingly accoutured Lords and Ladies, 
> the person
>with the most individual impact on the event and on every individual in
>attendence was Mi'k maq poet laureate Rita Joe. She is said to speak with
>the voice of her people - and yesterday it sure felt as though she did.
>         Jack Sinclair was leading us through much ceremony, although the
>proceedings were an interesting blend of the ancient and the modern, the
>formal and the folksy, the physical and the symbolic. Innocuously enough,
>Rita was listed in the official programme as "Poem Presentation". There was
>entertainment scattered through the programme, but there was also ceremony.
>I'm not sure which she was intended to be, but it was certainly was much
>more than entertainment.
>         Rita was going to read from a couple of her existing pieces, but 
> when she
>showed up Jack and his brother Bill worked her over good. Rita agreed to
>compose something especially for the occasion.
>         When she was introduced there was a warm reception and Rita spoke 
> some
>passionate words of thanks and introduction, and then:
>Acknowledgement of the Mi’kmaq Nation’s Reception to all Immigrants to
>Atlantic Canada
>On September 9, 2000 I will welcome
>The Venetian Mariners from Italy
>Laura Zolo and Captain Jack
>Who end the heroic voyage in Guysborough
> From many lands they have visited
>Then to ours
>I am a Mi’kmaq Representative
>Like in the days of 1398
>The offered hand is still in place
>The other on my heart as a sign of friendship
>I am the nation known the world over
>Who helped the broken men, their bodies wasted by scurvy
>My food, your food
>My medicine, your medicine
>My fear the same as yours for the unknown
>Today there is no fear but a welcome knowledge
>That we are friends as it should be
>And the view that is offered by Antonio Zeno in 1398
>The friendly reception by the Mi’kmaq Nation
>I thank him today
>and from the voyage of Prince Henry Sinclair and the Clan
>The acknowledging history set the Mi’kmaq as compassionate
>I appreciate and know as true
>… Rita Joe, Sept 6, 2000
>                 As Rita spoke she was nervous (of course - what artist 
> isn't?) but the
>symtoms of her Parkinson's which she works hard to keep at bay began to take
>her over - but that only caused her to work harder to get the words out ans
>her intellect fought the physical within her. And indeed, the power of her
>voice transcended all and in that voice could be clearly heard the voice of
>her entire nation, all that was, is and will be.
>         There was not a person there who did not feel this. Laura Zolo was
>completely overcome - and not for the last time by Rita Joe that day. It was
>beautiful to watch the instant bond that formed between them in those
>moments, and to watch it play out over the rest of the afternoon.
>         The Moment set the tone for many more moments which fullfilled 
> all of the
>promise of the day.
>         When Malcolm, Chief of the Clan Sinclair handed The Sword of 
> Peace to Ben
>Sylliboy, Grand Cheif of the Mi'k maq Nation, who in turn handed it to Don,
>Julien - Spiritual Leader of the Nation the symbolic was as manifest as the
>physical and the moment was everything that Malcolm, Niven, Bill and/or Jack
>could have wished when they cooked up this mad scheme.
>         Congratulations to all, there has been some hard going here in 
> Nova Scotia
>for the Clan Sinclair. The tide has turned...ironic that it may have again
>taken an Italian Mariner to make that happen...
>         I apologize, I have to run and don't even have time to proof 
> this...sorry
>for the mistakes, errors and ommissions...
>                 blessing be,
>                         rob cohn
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