Someone once passed on the observation that a ship’s destination doesn’t particularly matter when it’s sinking. I felt his statement to be both a great truth and ultimately a lie. Does this mean that the survival of the fittest shall prevail? That would mean that the rule of law shall reflect the strongest and not necessarily what is right.

For the destination of a ship, a person, way of being or a nation even when it seems to be sinking can always be corrected, even if it means a spell in dry dock.

Destinations are important. Crees paddling the Odeyak down to New York, arriving on Earth Day 16 years ago, were riding what was to be perceived a sinking ship. A small First Nations people paddling against the mighty current of Hydro-Quebec and the Quebec government. What chance was there? Most would have said “None.” But, still, the destination was important. And ultimately, the journey to save the Great Whale River was successful, at least for now. Every now and then there are indications the Crees should start bailing out that Odeyak again.

How about those Rupert’s Reverence people, Quebecers and Crees who have come together to save the Rupert River? They’ve done a few trips down the Rupert with kayaks and canoes. They’re still fighting after even most Crees have given up. They, too, believe the ship’s destination is something that matters. As you’ll see in one of our stories they are still paddling and bailing even as the boat is, apparently, sinking. We all hope they’ll patch up the holes and cruise this heritage river for decades and centuries to come.

Most people would say the reasons for the trip that talleyman Matthew Wapachee took were reminiscent of a sinking ship, given that it’s been far more than seven years that Wapachee has been trying to find answers to what’s wrong on his land. In the old days his words would have been sufficient for everyone to agree that something was wrong. He brought fish to game wardens hoping to get some answers. He was told the damage to the skin was the result of fish traveling through the rapids. The fish was fine. He knew something was wrong as did other tallymen.

It’s a different world today and that is reflected in our actions. But actions carry meaning and hope as Wapachee has proven. Matthew Wapachee and James Wapacheee, two tallymen, traveled to Ottawa carrying a letter outlining their and four other tallymen’s position and hopes. They would request the Grand Council get involved as this was a Cree Nation issue and not just an Ouje-Bougoumou issue.

The tallymen got an audience with the Grand Council and the Executive will be going to Ouje-Bougoumou after goose break. Another patch slapped on a leaky boat in contaminated waters (the extent and safety of which is still being debated).

So many people and so many sinking ships trying to make it someplace. The destination is as important as keeping the ship afloat and we can never forget that.

So what did you all do before Earth Day came along? You have to start someplace, if you haven’t done anything lately, grab a bucket and start bailing because this whole planet is starting to sink.