Monday, August 10, 2015

Launching the Mishoon

Mishoon is a Native word for canoe. For the last several months the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has been using traditional techniques to build a Mishoon. On Saturday they went to the Mystic Seaport and launched it. I took my camera. Here are some of the images from that day. The full gallery can be seen here.

The paddlers wore traditional regalia and represented 6 different northeastern tribes. I can't describe the awe of this. It's been generations since a Mishoon had sailed down Mystic river and you could feel the excitement. The paddlers, paddles and boat were all blessed in a traditional manner before they embarked. Once they were settled into the Mishoon they pushed off, with the help of the Museum Director, Jason Mancini. As they went out into open water there was a sense of pride that could be felt through the entire crowd. Even though most of the spectators did not participate in creating the craft or even knew what they were witnessing, they still watched with quiet awe - instinctively knowing that they were watching history in the making. The silence was broken only by the raised voices of the paddlers as they launched into a traditional song.

I won't soon forget this moment in history. It's one of the reasons I love being a part of the reservation. When things are done for the good of the tribe, it doesn't matter how much or how little you participate. The joy and the pride are shared with everyone. It's not about how one person made a canoe - it's about how 6 tribes brought their traditions to life.

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