||June 30, 2006
and Anahareo events great success
The North Bay celebration
of the life of Angele Egwuna and the Mattawa gathering for Gertrude Bernard (Anahareo),
the two native women that nurtured Canadian author and conservation icon Grey
Owl were powerful events. Both events met their goals of having a strong native
involvement, support, and presence.
The Angele Project
As discussed here
previously the Angele Project Art Exhibition looks at the life and times of
Angele Egwuna, Archie Belaney’s (Grey Owl) first wife from Bear Island in
Temagami. The show runs until July 13 at the W.K.P. Kennedy Public Art Gallery
on Main Street in North Bay. Archie Belaney’s 5 years (1907-1912) in Temagami
with the Teme-augama Anishnabi people where he learned their culture and
language were critical in his later transformation. His wife Angele and their
daughter Agnes and their families continued to live the native way of life for
decades with efficiency and pride.
||Bobbie Maxwell sings the National Anthem in Ojibway at the
opening of the Angele Project Art Exhibition.
The large Angele extended
family was recognized in the exhibit with paintings, photographs, genealogical
charts, artifacts, ephemera and performance. The show extends into all 3
galleries. At the crowded opening the Lalonde family descendants were front and
centre as the major family group. Extended family members David Laronde played
his music prior to the speeches and Bobbie Maxwell sang O Canada in Ojibway.
Well known Bear Island Director and actress Sandra Laronde wrote a piece for the
fine catalogue (available at the Gallery).
Joanne Vachon carried out a
smudging ceremony and later led a prayer in Ojibway. Rose Spence continued the
native theme with a drummed and chanted honour song for Angele and performed a
Travellers’ Song at the end. Bear Island Chief Alex Paul brought greetings and
Angele’s great granddaughter Kimberly Lalonde spoke about her and Agnes on
behalf of the family.
The outstanding art,
history, exhibition arrangement, performance and educational components of the
show made for a memorable event. Two talks on the history and the art were
provided during the week along with several school visits and talks. The Grey
Owl movie was shown twice and Armand Ruffo who wrote a book on Grey Owl’s life
gave a talk and book signing. Arlington Hoffman headed a large team of
volunteers who worked on the artistic and historical aspects of the exhibition.
He was a major contributor among the 18 artists, including several native
artists, who are involved in the event.
Mattawa’s Anahareo Cultural Gathering
On Saturday June 17
Gertrude Bernard (Anahareo’s) life was celebrated on the 100th
anniversary of her birth. John Whalen, Museum Board Chair, M. C.’d the event at
the Museum and Explorer’s Point in Mattawa. The event opened in the museum with
the unveiling of an expanded Anahareo display. MP Anthony Rota, MPP Monique
Smith, Mayor Dean Bacher, Anahareo’s daughter Anne Gaskill, Anahereo actress
Annie Galipeau, Native Elder William Commanda and Chief Richard Assiniwe were
just some of the many guests.
||Guests at Mattawa's Anahario Cultural
Gathering June 17 celebrated Gertrude Bernard's (Anahareo) life
As the group moved in
procession onto the outdoor stage where a large crowd waited, many speeches were
made lauding Anahareo’s life. Many family members were present. Clermont Duval
unveiled a beautiful new painting of Anahareo and a street sign “Anahareo Way”
was unveiled for a street named after her. Ed Sapiano an Anahareo fan spoke
about her memorable life with Grey Owl and beyond for decades and her many
accolades including the Order of Canada in 1983.
The younger generation was
represented by Brittney Walley’s singing of O’Canada and Whitney Walley sang a
song she wrote about Anahareo. A group of F.J. McElligot Secondary students put
on a play on the struggle Anahareo and Grey Owl had adjusting to their new
conservationist way of life.
During the afternoon
visitors were entertained by colourful native dancers, a visit to the Sacred
Fire, booths, displays and food. A showing of the Grey Owl movie capped off the
Congratulations to Museum
chair John Whalen, Curator Jane Lenard, the museum board, Recreation and Tourism
Director Jacques Begin, Event Co-ordinator Jennifer Jocko and the many
volunteers who spent days planning the event and establishing Anahareo in a
permanent place in Mattawa and Canadian history.
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