Plans are being finalized for the dedication of a site-specific sculpture by Chatham-born sculptor Gordon Reeve to honour Tecumseh and all First Nations People on Sunday 5th October. Final touches are currently being made to the sculpture at the Longwoods Road site, “A Place of Many Grasses” (3 km east of Thamesville) in preparation for the ceremonies taking place from 4:00 p.m.
Organizers have been working closely with Chief Greg Peters and his team from the Delaware Nation at Moraviantown. Following a meeting with Mayor Randy Hope, Chief Peters said, “I feel that the level of collaboration on this project promises a new era of cooperation between our two communities.” He added, “Gordon has worked very hard not only to create this wonderful new monument, but also to ensure that the contributions and diversity of First Nations is honoured and respected throughout. I am hopeful A Place of Many Grasses will bring people together and help us all to restore the spirit and intent of the Two Row Wampum.”
Dancing and drumming by Delaware people will begin at the site about 4:00 p.m. leading up to remarks from dignitaries and Gordon Reeve at 5:00 p.m. All attendees are then invited to join a ceremonial procession to the sculpture to be known as “Wisdom”. Booths selling native foods will be on site throughout the event.
At 6:00 p.m. renowned Navaho-Ute flautist R. Carlos Nakai will give a free one-hour concert. Partly sponsored by Michael Nesbitt Montrose Realty of Winnipeg, R. Carlos plays predominantly heritage instruments. His traditional music as well as cross-cultural collaborations have earned him two gold records and nine Grammy nominations. “My career has been shaped by a desire to communicate a sense of Native American culture and society that transcends the common stereotypes,” says Nakai.
Reeve says, “This site has been designed as a journey to echo Tecumseh’s life and the culture he fought so hard to save. The living grasses signify the diversity of nations that to this day share his profound spiritual connection to the earth. The scale, materials and form are intended to recognize and frame the terrible truth of the Battle of the Thames while using formal beauty to suggest that the Shawnee leader’s story might now inspire healing.” He adds, “I hope the site will become a place where First Nations come to tell stories and dance.”
The retired Professor of Sculpture at the School of Art at University of Manitoba (1976 to 2013) specialized in public sculpture and sculpture in the urban environment. In addition Reeve produced, wrote and directed 17 documentary films and videos on sculpture, painting, architecture and performance over a 12 year period. He points out that, “I try to express intuited connections between art and environment. Along with familiarizing myself with the site geography, I always research its history, seasonal climate and light conditions, and especially the effect it has on those who access or use it on a daily basis.”
Funding for the project came from the Government of Canada’s 1812 Commemoration Fund supplemented by funds remaining from Chatham-Kent’s 1812 legacy projects.
Chief Ron Sparkman from the Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and Chief Dan Miskokomon of Walpole Island will join Chiefs from other Southwest Nations, MP Dave Van Kesteren, MPPs Rick Nicholls and Monte McNaughton and Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope at the event.
This is a free, family-friendly, “rain or shine” event to which all are invited. For further information on the sculpture – including updated images – visit www.aplaceofmanygrasses.com .