Paddlers to hit water for reconciliation

·2 min read

The first annual Orange Out Paddle Day will hit the water at Curry Park Launch in Kemptville later this month in the name of reconciliation.

Paddlers dressed in custom Orange Out day shirts will be taking over the creek at noon on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.

“It’s the little orange idea that grew,” said organizer Craig McCormick.

He said the idea has snowballed since he brought it up to others, and now all proceeds for the shirts will be donated to the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, a non-profit organization that provides services to the Indigenous community in Ottawa.

The Orange Out shirts are being sold by McCormick with a custom logo on them, with a heart that reads “In our hearts” with wings in the centre of a dream catcher.

“Because it’s kind of a reconciliation paddle, in solidarity and memory of the victims and survivors of the residential schools,” said McCormick.

“We wanted to add something in Cree,” he said.

Around the band of the dream catcher the design says “Every Child Matters,” and wrapping around the bottom reads “Kawina wikach waneke,” which translates to “Never Forget.”

“If you have a canoe, kayak or paddleboard you can join,” said McCormick.

The Orange Out Paddle Day has been well received and many people have bought a T-shirt or hoodie to support the cause, he said.

McCormick knew if he was going to be collecting any money for the event, he wanted it to go toward a charity.

“It’s just the type of person I am; I just wanted to pay it forwards with different events.”

He is selling the orange T-shirts, and hoodies with the logo, as well as a plain orange flag that can be used for cars, but also for mailboxes and porches.

Some of the shirts and hoodies have already sold out in some sizes. The performance, quick dry T-shirts are for sale for $20, the hoodies are $35 and the car flags are being sold for $5.

Plans were in the works to have a smudging and short drum pre-paddle blessing with the Odawa Native Friendship Centre.

McCormick has reached out to an Indigenous artist, Alice Guss in Squamish Nation in British Columbia, who will craft a drum for the paddle day.

If this particular drum isn’t used, it will still be a symbol for the event.

“We’re humbled she’s making a drum for our event,” said McCormick.

The Indigenous artist had made a drum for Team Canada at the Olympics in Tokyo, which inspired McCormick to reach out and get one for the paddle event.

Rain dates for the event are Sept. 19, or Sept. 25; more information and updates about the paddle day can be found on the Orange out Paddle Day Facebook page.

Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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