New Year Gun Blast Tradition

Just wanted to write and share a short video depicting a New Year tradition that happens in many Northern communities here in Ontario. Given, you can never get away with this in the city, however, many small communities and First Nations seem to be keeping the tradition of shooting off a gun of some sorts at midnight to “ring the New Year in”. My father, just recently started taking up the tradition again for the last few years in recognition of those family members who once adhered to this practice annually. Interesting to note, many members of my family grew up in a little fishing hamlet on Lake Nipigon back in the day. It was a time when everyone, and mean everyone did this. So, you can imagine the noise that came along with “ringing in” the New Year. Certainly- I can imagine – ones ears would be certainly be ringing after a prolonged celebration of this tradition. For years, I remember stories of this tradition being bantered around come New Years in the company of family. However, it seems, no one was really carry on the tradition anymore in the small community my parents have since taken up residence. Probably, due more to municipal by-laws than forgetting traditions. In any event, nowadays, we now drive out of the community for a few miles on our local “Pipeline Road”. So enjoy I hope you enjoy(ed) the video. Best Wishes and Health to you in 2011!

Clarence

P.S. As a further anecdote, I am reminded of the time I first spent a winter in Moose Factory, Ontario in 1993. MF, as the locals call it, is a small community/ First Nation of a bout 2200 people..at the time anyways. I had just moved there at the beginning of December and spent my first holiday there alone. Not knowing anyone, I ended up working all New Year’s Eve. I got wound up so much in my work, I had forgotten it was and New Year’s Eve and went along editing a TV program I had been working on. So, as it turns out, suddenly the quiet studio in which I was working seemed to be under attack. Hearing a barrage of shot gun blast I dove under the editing console. It seems it want on for about five minutes and didn’t know what to think, so , I got brave enough to crawl through the office to peer out the window. Ever so slowly, I raised the blind and looked out. Who do I see. Past Marvin Cheechoo, Dad of famed hockey player Jonathan. He was standing on his porch merrily reloading his shotgun. It was then it dawned on me, this whole “ringing in the New Year” business on First Nations. I knew then all was okay in the world. Peace on Earth!

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