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These are my qualifications with regard to commenting on the Algonquin Land Claim within the Mattawa Valley area.

I have to question the validity of current Ontario Algonquin Land claim which seems to be based soley on the "Height of Land" between Trout Lake and Lake Nipissing.

To the best of my knowledge this tolling did not happen to any of the peoples travelling through the Talon/Turtle/Trout to Lake Nipissing stretch?

But a question arises, as to why would there be over five "stone structures" and an ochre mine strung out over 43 kilometres.
  • (CbGu-2) STONE STRUCTURE - Trout Lake

    "The second Palframan rock structure, (CbGu-2), includes a large rectangular area, with four or five possible routes of access, built directly on top of a high bedrock outcrop (fig 20.) There are four more or less clearly demarcated pathways; there is a flight of stone steps; and there is also (p21) a pavement floor of loose stone deposited on the bedrock. A large level notch has been cut into the bedrock directly above the staircase."

      "Within the rectangular area, there is a curious stone feature comprising of a cruciform arragement of stones (one arm of the cross is obscured by an ambiguous rock cluster) with an elaboate rock arrangement abutting a bedrock shelf at the base of the cross. This again seems to be an internal feature that helps to establish the entire structure's orientation."
        (If this sketch is rotated this cross like structure generally points due north.)

        "The entire structure covers an area 85 feet long and 75 feet wide. Again, there has been considerable disturbance from the construction of Hydro lines, although piles of rock deposited by Hydro are easily distinguished from the others through the relative absence of lichen on exposed surfaces."

  • (CbGt-2) STONE STRUCTURE - Camp Island

    "The stone structure on Camp Island is situated on a cobble beach and is associated with a long depression in the sand beaches below (Fig. 22). The stone structure measures 65 feet by 45 feet, while the depression is some 3 feet wide and 150 feet long, giving the feature an overall length of 215 feet. (P24) The depression proceeds sinously up the sand beaches, shallower at the several heights of rise and deeper elsewhere. It seems pretty clear that this depression was a path. For one thing, it obviously leads from a lower beach near the shore directly up to the rock structure. For another, the soil within it is much more compact than that on either side of it.

    At the upper end of the depression, there is a rock containing rock paintings or pictographs, in the form of three human figures drawn in reddish-brown pigment, and very difficult to see (figure 23)." (P25)
      Here we have another example of additions by much later people who on finding these strange structures are puzzled too and wanted to add their own mark on them.

    "Beyond the end of the depression, there is a paved cobble pathway that ascends the cobble beach. On top of the beach, the paved pathway is replaced by a pathway outlined by periodic stones, and this leads to a pair of enclosures or campers outlined by stones. The detailed morphology of the stone enclosures is difficult to determine, by virture of soil build-up over many of their major parts. A similar soil build-up is evident on the cobble pathway, where a 1" to 3" thick deposit has developed over most of the cobbles. "

    "There is an artificial stone line (marked in black) pointing down the cobble beach, over the rock with the pictographs, over a large rock staight to a rock at the end of the depression (except for this rock, the depression is virtually stone free - the only other stones occur at it's upper end). Again, this is evidence of an (P26) internally meaningful orientation and unity of design for the structure as a whole. This structure also has a North South orientation."

  • (CbGs-1) STONE STRUCTURE - Talon Lake.

    In General

    "The Trout and Talon Lake rock structures are unique."

    "The North Bay rock structures are all located at the extremities of lakes, at rivers flowing in or out, and at portages. The are all situated on the first boulder beach or stone ridge above the lake: thus they range from 20 to 50 feet above present water level."

    "Although the plan of each structure is unique, there are points of similarity in their construction that tie them all together into a coherent, interrelated group. They all include precisely defined pathways that lead to an enclosed space. Most of them included piled stone, most have pavements or platforms, most have staircases and have a clearly visible principle of orientation. Two of the structures are associated with rock pictures, and the other two as well."

    "So far we do not know that the cultural affiliations of the structures are, although there seems to be strong evidence that they are Indian rather than Europeans."

    "We do not know how old they are, but the development of a soils on top of some of the pavements implies a certain degree of antiquity. The growth of lichen on exposed rock surfaces also implies that we are talking at least in terms of centuries rather than decades when considering the age of these structures."

    "Quite frankly, nobody seems to know what these structures are. Scholars with a wide experience of north Ontario archaeology, including Drs. W. W. Kenyon, E. S. Rogers and J. V. Wright, examined illustrations of the structures and were unable to say or imagine what they were."

    "So we are dealing with something quite new. Most people seem to assume that they are somehow ceremonial; this possibility remains open."

    "Their physical characteristics imply some things about their construction and use. The fact that there is always some physical device for establishing their orientation implies a unity of design. If this means that each structure was all built at one time, and if the fact of their size is considered together with the fact that there is a fairly large enclosed space in most cases, this might (P29) imply that they were built by groups of people larger than the winter hunting groups of the northern peoples. If the free manipulation of stone on a large scale implies warm season construction, then this season would coincide with the time of year that northern Algonkian-speakers were gathered in larger multi-family groups, the time of greatest social interaction and group ceremony."

    "The depression at Camp Island is clearly a pathway, and the degree of compaction suggest that a lot of people have walked along it over the years."

    "If the trianglar petroglyph at Dugas Bay does indeed represent a mide loge, then this would tie in with a known group ceremony. However, there is no case known where the Midewiwin has used a structure like those in the North Bay area. The presence of these structures on the Mattawa route might imply that they are related to trade in some way, or to other means of inter-tribal communication. For the Mattawa has long been a major highway as well as part of the zone where northern and southern Ontario cultures have interacted most intensely."

    "Further excavation is definitely necessary, to see if the enclosed areas show any traces of house structures or fires; to define the full extent of the structures in each case; to see if a way can be found, through soil, lichen and artifact analysis to determine the time of construction and cultural affiliations of the (P 30) structures; to give us more information on the architectural technology and sequence; and to try to learn what the structures were used for."

    "The mystery need not remain forever unsolved. Now we know that the structures exist, we can search the early explorers' journals and missionaries' letters of even veiled references to them. The manifold excavation and recording techniques of modern archaeology can be used to good effect. When the structures are studied archaeologically, it will be necessary to study, at least, one of them in it's entirety. From this point of view the CbGu-1 structure is most elaborate and might reveal most about the structures themselves. The Camp Island structure is the only near living sites and can be reasonably be expected to tell us most about the cultural associations of the structures."

    "In any event, it is most important that any excavation or dismantling of these rock structures be sufficiently careful that the structure itself can be restored after study. This is extremely important." (p 31)

    Tyyska & Allen CONCLUSIONS

    That pretty much concludes the stone structures of 1973 Tyyska/Allen report.
    1. I have skipped the portion about Porte du Efner (the ochre mine across from the Parraseux Falls and ochre was a very important trade product for early Nipissings
    2. Pimisi Bay is just below the Talon Chutes and Eels are important for trade as they were non existant in the Great Lakes areas above Niagara Falls - a very important trade item for early Nipissings as there were no eels in Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior.
    Pimizi is the Algonkian word for American Eel(The people who lived here were known as a strong trading nation important parts of this were Ochre (the stuff of pictographs) and Eel products (skins, meat and grease) and were not available on the upper Great Lakes.

    I think I am well read in many of the annishbek cultures but I don't dare to pass myself as an expert!

    Most people think of Algonkians or Algonquians as a first nation but many of these are blissfully unaware that this is also a very wide spread language among the first peoples. The ones that resided at the Lake of Two Montains that spoke this language were Nipissings and Montagnais!

    A difference (between the Forest Tribes and those that lived on these narrows and later Lake Nipissing ) was well described by

    G. L. Cassidy in his book Arrow North. It seems familiar, perhaps he quoted Frank G Speck

    , when he wrote this book "Arrow North" from which I have transcribed the following:
    To me finding ablsolutely nothing along the banks of the Mattawa River (including Talon and Trout Lakes) except there are a lot of signs of habitation particularly on Talon Lake (1 farm) and 2 spots along Trout Lake. Human habitation along these water is notable by it's absence - except for these instances in the Tyskaa and Burns report at the elevation of 213 metre ASL.

    Curious as I seached the above maps looking for some evidence of habitation. The reason I did this was because in 2010 my wife and I spent a long time on Manitoulin Island. We picked up the Trevor's Historical map and there was a very interesting artice on page 6
    Island Story

    Could something like that have happened here? The answer is yes and it happened in a great many places besides here on Nipissing and Manitoulin Island. My candidate for the cause of this mystery is called the Little Ice Age -- which turned Greenland into ice, destroyed the Thule Indians, caused crop failures and all kinds of problems all over the world.

    Of course, that also got got me wondering about the historical void that also occurred in the Lake Nipissing areas and what just might have been worsened by the Iroquois' marauding genocide which would have traumitized, confused and frightened these people so bad that fled to the upper shores of Lake Superior and then went to Quebec in small groups seeking protection at French missions far from Lake Nipissing which seemed to be abandoned from that point on to just after the War of 1812.

    So I examined the above mapping and only found mention of two First Nation Villages both on the current Nipissing First Nation No. 10 near Sturgeon Falls.
    But this could be explained by Chief Simon Commanda's group - please refer to the following newspaper clipping.


    So after a great deal of research I have found nothing that confirms this Ontario Algonquin Land Claim is valid within the Mattawa River area so I can't believe that there is any validity to it particularly west of the mouth of the Amable du Fond and the height of land between Trout Lake and Lake Nipissing.

    After searching the Algonquin Land Claim genealogical records (produced and published by these claiment) I have come to the conclusion that, by far the bulk of these claimants came from the Ottawa River widening of the Lake of Two Rivers (very near or in Montreal from about 1830) which which coincides with the taking of red pine for timber and the taking of the white pine for lumber.

    My ancestors and those of a number of people came and settled here about the same time on lands that were purchased by the British Colonial Government in consultation with the Ojibwe (who pushed the Haudonsonee (Iroquois) out of Southern Ontario and then the populated all of Sourthern Ontario.

    Following is a map of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 (which the aboriginals frequently refer to) and which is available from National Archives Canada as

    Click for a pdf

    Which clearly shows that the Ottawa and Mattwa rivers are clearly in the French defined part of Quebec. The textual portion of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, to me, clearly backs this up.
    The land named New France or, to the English, Quebec was considered to be land taken over by right of conquest by the British Crown and surrendered by the French government. This land was never considered to be "Indian" Land which is why there have never been any treaties with the aboriginals on this chunk of real estate!

    It seems the Algonquin claiments of this current land claim actually followed the lumber trade up the Ottawa River working at or selling to that trade starting circa 1835+ up to about 1910 when they were just a very small part of the up ten thousand people who went up there every year to extract the pine!

    Because of this I really do not understand this land claim and the Ontario government's need to approve it!

    Thanking you, in advance, for your kind attention, I am

    Roy Summers
    121 Timmins Street
    North Bay, ON P1B 4K2
    705 474-4795