Message from Chief Evans
On behalf of my Council and community, I welcome you to Norway House Cree Nation in celebration of NHCN's 40th Annual Treaty and York Boat Days! We thank you and your families for joining us in our annual community celebration and in commemorating the heritage, traditions and rich history of our Cree Nation.
As the hub of northern Manitoba and situated on the north basin of Lake Winnipeg, NHCN played a fundamental role is establishing the economic foundation of Manitoba and Canada during the fur trade era. Eventually, Norway House became a sub-depot for the collection of inland furs which were transported by Canoe through Lake Winnipeg, but mainly to York Factory which was the common destination of transported goods and furs during the fur trade era.
As the fur trade grew and expanded through North America, canoes became an absolute necessity for transporting cargo (furs and goods) and had the capacity to carry a crew of up to 12 people and cargo weighing approximately 2400 kilograms. Eventually, the demand of the fur trade became so great that the use of canoes was phased out and replaced with the York Boat.
York Boats were first built in Albany Fort in the 1740's from spruce logs, and were based on an old Orkany design which was derived from Viking long-ships. The name York boat was derived from York Factory as the common destination of transported goods and furs during the fur trade era.
York boats were built to transport a greater amount of freight and could withstand the rigid waters (especially when en route to England) and were propelled by six to eight oarsmen who worked twenty-foot oars, as well as a steersman.
Today, the Archway Warehouse, the jail and the ruins of the powder magazine along with our Annual Treaty and York Boat Days festival, continue to be reminders of Norway House's significance and role in the fur trade, and in the development of Canada's economy.
As we celebrate Norway House Cree Nations 40th annual Treaty and York Boat Days, Council and I are very pleased to also be celebrating another significant milestone with the North West Company, who celebrates their 200 year anniversary with NHCN. As our longest standing partners, we would like to thank the North West Company for their ongoing support and contributions to our community and especially for the generous donation to mark 40 years of our Treaty and York Boat Day celebrations. Thank you for working with us and for sharing in our successes and achievements. We look forward to our continued partnership.
A major highlight of our celebration is the world champion York boat races in memory of Henry and Mary Ann Muminawatum along with the Gospel Jamboree, Co-ed and youth boat races, the Johnny Walker Memorial canoe marathon, the Joe Keeper Memorial marathon, strong teen/man/woman competition, the square dance competition, men's fastball tournament, adult and minor slo-pitch tournament, youth and adult talent showcase and much more!
For further information about our Treaty and York Boat Day events please contact Ed Albert at 204-359-4729 or visit our website at www.nhcn.ca/yorkboatdays.
Thank you for joining us in this special celebration!
Chief Ron Evans