November/December 2006

Bark Canoe Store

15 East Sinto
Spokane, WA 99202

(office & fax)
(509)327-1850 (shop)
John Lindman

Copyright (c) 2006
All Rights Reserved


1. News -
    New Paddles- all hard to find - in Fur Trade and Native styles
      - Solid cherry
      - Solid ash

2. History Corner - a look at the past to better see the present

News -

New Paddles

I am very excited about our new line of paddles. From two different supplies, one brand is solid cherry (I mentioned this in the last newsletter - a very light hardwood that gives you a springy paddle. The other is solid ash - the tough guy on the block.

You may be familiar with "Grey Owl Paddles" from Ontario. They are noted for fine work. We are now a dealer of theirs. We carry two designs, the Voyageur and the Ottertail. Both paddles have the look and feel of fine furniture. The Voyaguer has a blade width of 4 3/4" and the Ottertail's blade is 5 1/2" The Ottertail is a rare find, and made today only on a special order basis and the supply is very limited.

The other is solid ash - while made by a very respected manufacturer of canoe products it is our own brand. The only style we carry in the ash is the "Wabanaki" because of its traditional northeast woodland Indian style. These are oil finished and a great counterpart to any birchbark or fiberglass replica canoe. Ash, while being heavier, can take the use and abuse.

Take a look.

We will have more coming on line after the first of the year and will have pictures at that time.

The History Corner - a look at the past to better see the present -
The Ojibwe and the Dakota

It is said that history repeats itself if one does not study history.

The information for this article comes primarily from the following source:
"The Land of the Ojibwe", developed by the Ojibwe Curriculum Committee, American Indian Studies Dept of the University of Minnesota and the Educational Services Division, Minnesota Historical Society.

Called Ojibwe by the French, which means "pucker toe" because of the style of moccasins they wore, they were known amongst themselves as "Anishinabe" which means in Algonquian, "the People". Originally they inhabited the area north of the St. Lawrence Seaway but from the early 1600s to the early 1800s bands of Anishinabe migrated west. Also called "Chippewa" by Americans we see the extent of that far west migration with the Box Elder Band of Chippewa Indians living in present day Montana.

What is not commonly known is that the Dakota Sioux were originally a Woodlands Indian. They controlled the western territory of Lake Superior and what is now northern Minnesota, SW Ontario, and southern Manitoba.

In the spring of 1679 at Sault Ste. Marie a Frenchman named Daniel DeLute of whom Duluth, Minnesota gets its name, arranged with the Ojibwe who had migrated as far west as Wisconsin, to negotiate the trading of furs with the Dakota. This was successfully done and for about 40 years the Dakota brought their furs to the Ojibwe who in turn brought the furs to post.

During this time of trade the Ojibwe comingled with the Dakota. They intermarried. The Ojibwe adopted the Dakota's style of birchbark canoe - the Longnose. While both woodland Indians, their languages were vastly different - Siouan and Algonquian. Still they co-existed.

It is not known for certain what destroyed this peace. Some say it was over a dispute where an Ojibwe was marrying a Dakota. Perhaps. But perhaps something else came into play.

In 1696 New France closed its western fur posts. Trade was kept up for the next 20 years by illegal traders. The Fox wars had closed the trading routes of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. When the wars ended and trading resumed trade goods were carried west by licensed traders and brought directly to the Indians.

Now the Dakota had never traded directly with the whites. Their trade was with the Ojibwe. Bypassing the Ojibwe and trading directly with the Dakota, could this have been the trigger of the Dakota/Ojibwe wars that eventually resulted in the Dakota being pushed out of the forests onto the plains?

What did these traders say to the Dakota when they went on their sales call? Perhaps it went like this: Trader - I would like to trade furs with you directly. Dakota - We have always traded with the Ojibwe. Trader - That I understand. How many beaver must you trade for a gun? Dakota - 10. Trader - how many beaver do you think the Ojibwe have to trade with us for a gun? Only 5! Dakota - This can't be true, the Ojibwe are our brothers. Trader - this is true! That may have been the polite version. Perhaps it went as far as: Trader - How long have you been trading with the Ojibwe? Dakota - 40 winters. Trader - do you see how much the Ojibwe have stolen from you? Dakota - I am not stupid.

What do you think most people would do at a time like this?

The Dakota then tried to force the Ojibwe from their hunting grounds.

The Cree, to the north, had long been allies of the Ojibwe but were enemies of the Dakota. The French fur traders were now trading furs directly as far west as the Winnepeg River with the Assiniboin and the Cree. In 1736 a group of Dakota attacked a party of French and Cree on an island in Lake of the Woods. The Dakota wanted to stop the gun trade to their enemies. Another story has it that the Dakota would follow a certain band of Ojibwe from Fort William on Lake Superior back to their home to the northwest. Along the way they would be killed and their trade goods taken. Finally one time the Ojibwe, knowing what could befall them on their way home, decided to trick the Dakota. They set up an ambuse. The result was a crushing defeat of the Dakota and the name of a location in Ontario - "Sioux Lookout". Subsequent wars were waged until the Dakota were finally driven from the woods and lakes. Even after that point they remained enemies.

By this time the former "gold" of the West - furs - was replaced with a new type of "gold" - timber! But it was not safe in Minnesota with Indians upset with each other. The solution was to position the displaced Winnebago between the Ojibwe and the Sioux. The Winnebago didn't like being the "fence" so headed south to present day Missouri. Then the perfect solution - bring in the "peacekeepers". The US Army established a border line between the Dakota and the Ojibwe which today is Interstate 94 between Stillwater, Minnesota and Moorehead/Fargo. The Dakota were south of the line and the Ojibwe north of the line. To enforce the "peace" the Army built Fort Snelling at present day Minneapolis/St. Paul and so began the takeover of Minnesota. Soon after came the railway, then on the land ceded to the railroad the logging started and finally the mining. The rest, as we say, was history.

Did the Ojibwe go to war with the Dakota over a marriage upset or an unjust death of a member of the opposite tribe? Or perhaps it was the intentional or unintentional interlopping of a third party, in this case fur traders?

America was not only the land of opportunity but it was also a land of seeming limitless resources. There was always the gold. From Pizzaro to Custer there was always gold - gold in some form. There was the land itself and the fur trade, the timber and the silver. And only one thing stood in the way of all of these riches - the Indians.

How was it done? Divide and conquer. How was it maintained? Divide and rule. The British were masters at this but they weren't the only ones. The trick is you play one natural enemy against the other and let them slit each others throats until you come along as referee and create the peace. Of course the peace is with you in control. You did it without firing a shot. No mess. Play country against country, tribe against tribe, ethnic or religious group against ethnic/religious group. No one will look at you. They are all too busy fighting with each other. Too busy hating and seeking vengence. The central banker who finances both sides of a war with the winner paying the debts of the loser is a classic example. Or, the labor rabble rouse who breaks a company with labor disputes only to find that the competition emerges with a monopoly in the industry and wages drop. Who financed the rabble rouse? Was it the competition? Another is to finance and control both political parties. Create agendas which polarize the parties. Keep them fighting while you, whoever "you" may be, insert your agenda - you paid for the campaign, they owe you favors. It has worked throughout the ages and it is working like a charm today. We see civil war in Africa - genocide. Note the countries. Note the raw materials. We see it in the middleeast. After WWI, at Versailles, the Arab countries were not placed under the rule of one leader as they wished but instead princes were given their feifdoms. This was divide and rule with the British and French having control. And for what purpose? Oil. There has been war ever since. Iraq is about to break into full civil war. We saw it earlier in the Yugoslavia and throughout AFrica. But if you look closely it's a "re-run" of the Indian Wars. The apparency was the soldiers vs. the Indians. The acuality was the wealthy vested interests of the east or London putting pressure on the government.

We talk at this time of peace on Earth and goodwill towards man. I'm sure you've noticed that at this time of year even during wars, people will put their differences aside and treat each other as human beings. It happens ever year at this time. The power of an idea. We are being played. We are being suckers. Talk radio, TV, the news, etc. Spin, spin, spin. And toward who's agenda? Certainly not ours. We are being played. Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz vanquished the evil witch with water and all of her minions of evil were freed to love. Once Dorothy saw that the great and mighty wizard was only a feeble old man pulling levers she was no longer controled by fear. And finally, the wizard pointed out to all of them that the power to be, to do or to have was not under someone elses control but in actuality was solely under theirs. They could now think, love, be brave and go home.

What would happen if everyone on the planet were to realize that the wicked witches of business, the great and mighty wizards of the media and government only have the power we hand over to them with our fear, our greed and our hate? Why should we continue to be suckers and do their dirty work. What they are thinking is that at this moment your thought is, "That will never happen. It's pie in the sky". They figure they got us.

We can change history just like Dorothy can click her heels three times and go home. How? We can change our minds and decide to send it elsewhere. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanuka, Happy New Year and here is to peace on Earth.

P.S. If you are stout at heart and want to get a glimpse of what is happening to us at this very minute check out this new documentary film by Aaron Russo. He is the guy who did "48 Hours" with Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy, and "Trading Places" with Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd. This is a first class film and contains vital data for every American.

Click here to go to check it out

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