On April 23, 1990, after a five-week journey from Hudson Bay to the Hudson River, the Odeyak landed at the Battery for Earth Day. Half-Cree, half-Inuit, the 24-foot freighter canoe, plowing across the Manhattan seascape, was a strange small vessel build in the dark Arctic winter to carry a message from two First Nations of the northern wilderness to a reclaiming of Times Square for Mother Earth.
Along with the Crees’ and the Inuit’s hopes and fears for their children and for the future of their river, the Odeyak carried a simple request. The Great Whale Hydroelectric Project, the first part of James Bay II, will destroy the natural economy of the Great Whale region, killing the way of life the Crees and the Inuit have followed since time immemorial. It came to ask the people of New England and New York not to buy the power.
Michael Posluns has been writing about First Nations concerns since 1970. In 1973, he co-authored The Fourth World: An Indian Reality with George Manuel. He produced radio documentaries on the Long House Confederacy while working as an assistant editor of Akwesasne Notes. In 1983, he co-authored The First Nations and the Crown: A Study of a Trust Relationship for the House of Commons Special Committee on Indian Self-Government. In 1986, he wrote A Practical Guide to Indian Ontario, a portrait of traditional family life in three First nations cultures. In 1990, he edited Songs for the People: Teachings on the Natural Way., the writings of Art Solomon a Nishnawbe elder.