River of Nations: A Song of Reconciliation

I wanted to share a song with you that was written and recorded aboard an icebreaker ship called the Canada C3. The Canada C3 Expedition was an epic 150-day sailing journey from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage that invited diverse Canadians to spend time on the ship for 10-day legs. 

A diverse group of remarkable Canadians were invited on board, including scientists, artists, Indigenous Elders, historians, community leaders, youth, journalists and educators. Once a participant boarded the Canada C3 vessel, they became the eyes and ears of the rest of Canada. 

Canada C3 exploring the four key themes of Canada 150: Diversity and Inclusion, Reconciliation, Youth Engagement and the Environment. 


Just as the expedition is a Journey of Reconciliation, River of Nations is a Song of Reconciliation.

Along with 20 other passengers, the co-writers of River of Nations were invited to participate on Leg 2 of the Canada C3 expedition. Using the four themes as inspiration, they wrote and recorded the song right on the ship, with all the challenges that entailed. If you listen carefully, you can even hear the sound of the engine in the background.

The co-writers are three very different musicians from across Canada:

  • Alex Cuba is a Grammy-winning musician and an immigrant to Canada.

  • Heather Rankin is a proud Cape Breton’er and member of the renowned Rankin Family.

  • And me. I’m a Métis singer and actress who is sometimes known as Grandmother Wind.   

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Our leg, Leg 2, travelled down the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to Baie Comeau, Quebec. We learned about and experienced the River, the national parks, the wildlife, the many francophone communities along that river, and the traditional territories of the Kanion'ke:haka (Mohawk), Wendat (Huron), and Innu (Montagnais-Naskapi) peoples. Much of this nation’s history is captured in the beaded wampum belts that were created during vital historical times.

River of Nations includes multiple languages: English, French, Mohawk, and Spanish, to honour the traditional territory on which we travelled, but also to reflect the diverse nature of this journey and this country.    

Have a listen!

So much history, so much beauty.

The co-writers and I used this rare opportunity for Reconciliation to use our gifts of music to leave a legacy of hope and change behind us. I hope you will do your part to leave a legacy of Reconciliation too.

For similar content, go to:

I Am a Music Messenger

For more Messages from the Patchwork Grandmothers, go to:

Nobody Owes You