Monday, 30 June 2014

A Canoe For The Making by Maryke Mcewen

I saw a show on TV about a dozen years ago, on APTN, and would LOVE to see it again.

A motorized canoe brings three (native) men to an island in the boreal forest. Two of them get out and start to unload supplies. The canoe takes off leaving the two men stranded. The younger of the two is freaking out, but the older man calmly announces that they’ll just build a canoe.

They build a birchbark canoe and while doing so the dynamic between the two men is explained. The older man is the younger man’s grandfather in law. The younger man is very much used to modern life, where as the older man is still into the old ways. It becomes clear that the younger man is also an alcoholic. The time they spend building the canoe allows him to dry out. There is a bottle of booze sticking out of the top of a stump out in the water. Initially he can’t wait to get out there and get at it, but when the boat is done, he has the chance to paddle out there and get it. But opts not to take it.

Deciding that they will head back in the morning, they fall asleep. He wakes to see the older man in a drunken rage, bottle in hand, kicking at the boat. He runs over asking him what he’s doing, that he’s destroying the boat. The old man it quickly becomes apparent is not drunk at all. He turns to him and says:
“I can fix this boat or make a new one. I can’t replace my granddaughter. If you ever hurt her again, I’ll kill you. I could easily have killed you, and buried you here, and people would believe me when I told them it was an accident. And then I would come back and build a boat over your corpse year after year.”

The half hour show was called A Canoe For The Making, and it was a 1995 CBC production by Maryke Mcewen, and directed by George Bloomfield. The grandfather was played by venerable Canadian actor Gordon Tootoosis, the younger man was played by Kennetch Charlette .

And wouldn’t you know it, it is impossible to find anywhere.

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