#HistoricBoats - A Canadian community descended from the builders of the world's oldest birchbark canoe have expressed concern that the vessel may be returned to Ireland, according to The Irish Times.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 'Grandfather Canoe', or Akwiten, was crafted by the Mailseet First Nation in Canada's Maritimes for use on the St John River valley in New Brunswick under British colonial rule almost 200 years ago.
A programme for RTÉ Radio's Documentary on One strand in August explained how the canoe later passed into the ownership of British army captain Stepney St George, who took it home to Headford Castle, from where it was later bequeathed to NUI Galway.
In the 2000s the canoe was rediscovered and after a First Nations campaign, in 2009 it was repatriated and presented to the Beaverbrook art gallery in New Brunswick, where it is presently in storage without exhibition space.
Members of the Mailseet community are now lobbying for the right to care for and exhibit what is a "spiritual and cultural artefact" to their people.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.