Native American chief asks NUI Galway to return ‘iconic’ canoe

Ireland“A Native American chief has appealed to NUI Galway to return the world’s oldest known birch-bark canoe to his community in Canada. The ‘Grandfather Akwiten’ canoe had spent almost two centuries in Ireland before it was sent temporarily to Canada two years ago by NUI Galway (NUIG) for conservation and subsequent exhibition. The canoe remains in Canada. The 180-year-old craft, which was donated to the university in the mid-19th century, is an ‘iconic’ and ‘powerful symbol’ of the Native Americans’ way of life, according to Chief Candice Paul of the St Mary’s First Nation Wolastokwiyik (Maliseet) community of New Brunswick. However, he says it suffered more than 150 years of ‘isolation and neglect’ and ‘served primarily as a home for pigeons in an institution dedicated to geological collections’ at the university …” (more)

[Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, 28 March]

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