HER NAME WAS SHANAWDITHIT.
SHE WAS THE LAST LIVING BEOTHUK , SO THAT MAKES HER FAMOUS.
AT ONE POINT SHE EVEN HAD TO TRAVEL TO ENGLAND …ANTHROPOLOGY/ODDITY FREAKSHOW STUFF…
My artist friend, Christine, had told me about this Gerald Squires, an artist from NFLD,( a graduate of OCAD) who had been commissioned to do SHANAWDITHIT’S SCULPTURE. Christine said that his oneness & INVOLVEMENT WITH THE WOMAN , THE ART AND THE HISTORY, SO SERIOUSLY EFFECTED HIS SENTIMENTS THAT ON HAVING HER REMOVED FROM HIS STUDIO AND TRANSPORTED TO BOYD’S COVE, HE SUFFERED SEPARATION STRESS. Well, simply put, he’d wake up in the middle of the night and imagine her standing in the forest, alone.
However, to see Shanawdithit standing alongside the Aspens was to witness a woman watching the world and the seasons changing around her, but she remained THE SAME: A PERMANENT FIXTURE, ROOTED AND CONSTANT IN HER SOLID STANCE ..IN PERFECT HARMONY WITH “THE ALL”.
I had been told about this place, even though it was a wilderness trek with no signs indicating the archaeological site was at the mouth of Notre Dame Bay,….we could not find the stream…the babbling brook that Gerry had told Christine about.
We’d stop and listen for the sound of running water but could not hear anything on that cloudy (gratefullyNOT windy)day. We did not even hear bird song.
TIME passed, and around noon the clouds moved to allow for a shining sun & blue sky. RAYS OF LIGHT FILTERED THROUGH THE TREES, about the same time we heard moving water, a moment later I viewed SHANAWDITHIT to my left and in the distance.
I thought of all the things that history brings, all the things that art brings forward and …the relationship that the artist has with his subject matter…so tied to the subject: her struggles and her strengths…
THAT IN THIS MOMENT ,
YOU ARE ONE
MESHED WITHIN THE FOREST’S GRACE