Report: Repatriation of ‘Duck Lake’ Pipe
July 31, 2014
First of all I would like to thank the C & C for entrusting this undertaking to me – it is with great humility that I share this tale of my journey to retrieve the ‘Duck Lake Pipe’.
It has been, for me a spiritual experience that to this day still fills my heart with emotion that I fight to contain. It is my hope that this journey will be bring healing and unity to our community and bless us with a future that our children, grandchildren and future generations may thrive.
In late June of this year, after the approval of the CDC grant application (applied for by Kevin Seesequasis), I was given the task of arranging the processes of bringing back to the community, a peace pipe – I was given basic background information on the pipe, and shortly after began communications with Randy Glenn, the gentleman who is in possession of this pipe. Final arrangements were made, dates were chosen and the itinerary was set, I have attached the original Itinerary to this report including the budget for the first part.
Like some of our community members that I have talked to, I did have some doubts about the authenticity of the pipe. I began researching within our community speaking with some of the elders and culture keepers to see if I could gather more information about the possibility of this being Chief Beardy’s pipe. Based on the information I was able to gather from them and documented material from the internet there is no conclusive evidence that would point to this fact – nevertheless, after informal discussions with members of the Chief & Council we found it important to follow up based on the potential that it could be his, having come from the area at the time when ‘Kamiskowesit’ was Chief over this territory.
“This Indian peace pipe was smoked with a Cree Indian Band at Duck Lake Sask. In 1870, by my Dad Robert Glen, at the age of 24 years. He travelled by Red River Cart from Winnipeg out West.”
I have asked Randy to provide a history of his family and how this pipe came to be in his hands:
“Hi Roy, here’s some information about myself and family….
My grandfather Robert Glen was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada in the mid 1800’s. Grandfather was an adventurer and explorer and while he didn’t marry until past his fiftieth birthday, he still managed to sire and raise six children. My father Jack Wilson Glen, was the youngest.
My dad was born in Owen Sound, Ontario. During our years in Radisson my father co-owned the local GM dealership with his brother Robert C. Glen, a movie theatre and also served as town mayor a term or two. My mom Gertrude (Gertie) was a Stott from Fielding nearby and apparently was a force to reckon with on the softball diamond.
I was born at Nipawin in 1949 and we lived in Radisson until I was 3 years old. At that time we moved west to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. My home for the next dozen years was Salmon Arm on the beautiful Shuswap Lake where I discovered and celebrated my love for nature and the outdoors. My folks owned a variety store until their retirement in the 1980’s and while they worked hard to establish a good business, I was mostly left on my own. It was during these times that mother nature seduced me into a life long love affair.
I have three children Jonathan, the eldest, is 42, Jeremiah (Jeremy) is 40 and Melissa is 39. Jonathan is a businessman and is father of my two grandchildren, Jack Wilson Glen and Olive Glen. Jeremy is an artist and sculptor and Melissa is a nurse practitioner at Women’s Hospital in Vancouver.
According to the note in the pipe given to my father by his father and then by him to me, “This Indian peace pipe was smoked with a Cree Indian Band at Duck Lake Sask. in 1870 by my dad Robert Glen at the age of 24 years. He traveled by red river cart from Winnipeg out west”
I have always known and understood that the pipe must return home. I hope and believe that this gesture will somehow signal the beginning of a great change bringing people of all nations and origins together, as one family, the family of man.
I am honored to have been chosen to return this important artifact to its place of origin and wish to honor my family there with its return.”
After a short delay, I left from the Band Office at approximately 11AM Friday morning July 25, 2014, I loaded up the truck, picked up my wife and son from home, and drove straight east through Calgary and arrived at Enderby, BC at 3AM the following morning, July 26, 2014.
Randy and his wife Kathy greeted us outside their home and invited us in, after we settled in with our bags and put our son to bed, Randy invited me into the living room where the pipe was already set out wrapped in red cloth on the coffee table – once it was unwrapped I felt an immediate sense of awe – at first glance it looks to be a regular pipe, but the bowl like the stem, is made of wood. I looked at the pipe sitting there admiring the craftsmanship that went into creating it, trying to imagine the hands that carved it.
The pipe was together on the table and I explained the significance of this as it was told to me – ‘the stem of the pipe represents man and the bowl woman, once they are joined together the pipe is alive, it represents life; when it is together it is the holder’s direct line of communication to the Creator, it is for this reason that when not in use for prayer you must place sage into both ends of the bowl and wrap the pipe in two pieces.’ – I grabbed some sage from my truck and wrapped it the way I have been taught. We retired for the night.
After we slept for as long as we could we spent the day visiting, sharing stories, touring the area and gathering items needed for the sweat ceremony that was to happen the following morning. That evening after we shared a meal together, I presented tobacco, ribbons, blanket and other gifts to Randy on behalf of the community: in this way we give thanks to him and his family for first, keeping the pipe; and also to Randy personally for having the desire to want to return the pipe to our community. I asked for a safe journey for he and his wife to Saskatchewan as they bring the pipe home and also for a safe journey back. I asked for life and blessings for he and his family for the great gift that they bring home to us and I prayed that they will be blessed with whatever it is they need in life – through this pipe they are connected to us – his family is part of our family.
5AM Sunday, July 27, 2014 Randy and his wife Kathy along with my family arrived at the area by the river, where the sweat was to be held – there we met the Lodge Keeper and Chief of the Splastin Tkamepula Band, Whayne Christian as well as a Councillor and conductor of this lodge, Randy William. Other important people for this ceremony from our Community were, Don Gamble, Community Pipe Keeper and Derek Cameron, Skapios for the Community Pipe, along with their wives.
After brief introductions the conversation immediately turned to the Pipe and the significance of the events that were unfolding around its return to the east; it is important to note that the Chief and Council from the Splastin Band played a big part in guiding Randy as to how to begin this endeavour and were gracious enough to assist in any way they could to help to make this happen.
The ceremony was very emotional for everyone; we prayed and sang in our own way giving thanks for the opportunity to be a part of returning this sacred object to the people, we asked for guidance and safe travels for the pipe and all who will be a part of the pipes journey. In between rounds we shared stories, songs and teaching with each other, each having something to offer from our respective areas; the ceremony was complete after we lit and smoked the Community Pipe with our hosts – there is much hope from all parties that this return will bring about the great changes that are prophesied to bring healing to all people.
It has been an honour to have been chosen to carry out this task – I look forward to the future with great hope that, that which was stripped from us will be returned for ourselves, our generations to come, and for those who came before us.
C. Roy Petit, Councillor
Beardy’s & Okemasis Willow Cree Nation
- S. As part of its return we are trying to arrange events to surround our Traditional Pow-Wow; more information will be brought forward once details have been finalized.
- View the Itinerary and Budget.