For the second year running, the Cape Croker Anishnaabek team from the Chippewas of Nawash reserve entered competition at the annual Owen Sound, Ont. dragon boat festival held on July 15.
Held on the river in Owen Sound where it enters Lake Huron, about 4,000 spectators enjoyed the races throughout the day. Twenty-seven teams in various divisions took part.
Croker Annishaabek, in the final of their division, came in a very close second in the 500 meter course, losing by the width of a dragon's whisker.
"That was a photo finish- absolutely," said paddler Nathan Keeshig.
"The essential thing about dragon boat racing is to have fun, and do a little bit of exercise," said event co-ordinator Ron Davidson
Dragon boat racing has its origin in China of the 4th century BC and upon the death of the poet-statesman QU Juan who vanished into the waters of the Miluo River. Fisherman raced out searching for him. To stop the waterdragons from eating his body, they made noise by beating drums and splashing with their paddles. They scattered rice upon the river so that his spirit would not suffer hunger. Each following year, the fishermen went out to make a symbolic search. This evolved into races between the boats.