4,700 years ago that height of land or watershed divide did not exist because the entire upper Great Lakes and Lake Erie were one body of water that drained out through the Mattawa River (with, at least, 7 distinct water levels) when the outlet of those waters switched to the modern southern outlets and the puny modern flows of the Mattawa River began.
Even now, there is less than a metre in elevation keeping the waters of Trout Lake from flowing out down the French River. And I have witnessed that a number of times.
There has to be better rationale for this claim but nothing seems to be published except for one or two rather poor maps and I wanted to know why.
All the early people who lived along all of the waterways did so because they had developed a marvelous water craft (the birch bark canoe) several millenia ago.
But these shorelines varied greatly along the Great Lakes including Nipissing along the Nipigon, Ottawa, Mattawa, Petawawa rivers as various flows from the melting of a hundred thousand year ice accumulations and the effect of isotatic rebound affecting the elevations and locations of those ancient shorelines!
An excellent resource is to be found in the Geological Survey Canada report entitled "An outline of North American Deglaciation with emphasis on central and northern Canada" by Arthur S. Dyke of Geological Survey of Canada, 601 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0E8; E-mail: ADyke@NRCan.gc.ca. This was Geological SSurveys Canada's Open File 1574 -
Back before 4,700 years ago and when traveller's reached the east end of Talon Lake they were on the Nipissing Great Lakes without any more portages to get anywhere on these lakes. The distance of Ottawa/Mattawa/French River route was about 62% with portages being about 30% less than either the Trent or St. Claire River routes.
The following map shows the Nipissing Great Lake which existed from 4,700 to 2,500 years ago. It explains why this route would become the preferred route of all peoples to and from the interior of the continent until the early 1900's!
This Trout/Talon portion of Mattawa River was "gateway" for migrating land animals and birds meaning people living here didn't have to leave this area to hunt because
Food from caribou would come to them twice a year on their migrations
the many small islands, channels, shallows and constant current meaning ice would form for very brief periods (like Sault Ste Marie) making this area an exceptional and prolific fishery.
the vast amount of wetlands made obtaining food (vegatation, meat) also much easier between migrations.
this meant the people of this area didn't have to travel great distances yearly for sustenance because most of what they needed was right here. Obviously this meant surplus time so they travelled extensively by canoe trading with:
with the ancestors of the Mississipi clans (Wyandots or Hurons)
to the west to the Ojibway
to the north up as far as the the Swampy (Oji) Cree
Of importance in this trade was that plentiful amounts of ochre and American eel were available and both occurred within a kilometre from Trout/Talon Lake still waters and neither of there products were found anywhere near the Great Lakes or Hudson/James Bay so they were in demand throughout those areas.
Some of the copper and other goods must have gone through this outlet because it has been discovered in prehistoric cultures throughout North and South America and a 150 downstream The Morrison Island digs found 2,600 copper artifacts plus stone and bone tools which were manufactured there to some degree.
but in 1610 when Champlain came to the Saint Lawrence these people had vanished nd when he came up the Ottawa in 1613 and 1615 some Algonquianns had taken over the Allumettes Islands in the Ottawa River and travellers had to relinquish part of their goods to "pay" toll for passage beyond this bottleneck. !
One of these settler families was that of my maternal grand mother who shortly after this left this island to settle at Eau Claire (Calvin township)
Tales that I hear from them included the du Fond family who moved further up the Amable Du Fond River to settle just beyond Kioskoki Lake. They traded with the lumber companies supplying them with produce, fodder, etc. and it seems to me they were only referred to as Montaignais! I was a grown man when I learned that they spoke the Algonkian language.
The above dialogue indicates a number of things to me:
Those Algonkian people moved onto Allumettes Island about the same time as the St. Lawrence Iroquois left.
There is evidence of a major fish wier and agricultural implementation which seems to indicate Iroquian not Algonquin habitation
there was no presence of and Algonkian speakers for next 200 years.
indicating that they had completely abandoned Allumettes Island circa 1650
and not returning until 1836 when the lumber trade had moved up the Ottawa River beyond Pembroke.
This conincides with the time frame frame that most of the first peoples started to leave the Missions of the Lake of Two Rivers because of increasing tensions
Essentialy they were some kind of mercenaries of the French and then the British until after the War of 1812 when, I suppose, these services were no long required.
The following is well defined on AAND web pages
A large number of Algonkian speakers moved to reserves at:
This included both Algonkian and Iroquian (Mohawk) Speakers. The Mohawk stayed and
seem to have thrived - but I understand that the Algonkian people moved back to Two Mountains!
Golden Lake I.R. 39
purchased patent land by the federal Government (inside the old Quebec boundary)
and called "Reserve #39 - In 1873, after many petitions, this 1745-acre Golden Lake Reserve, located at a Hudson Bay trading site on the Bonnechere River, was purchased from Ontario by Canada with our money."
Kitigan Zibi (River Desert)
"This Reserve, originally some 69,000 acres in size, was set apart by the Province of Canada in the period 1851-53, as was the River Desert Reserve."
Most of (perhps not all) of the Nipissings returned to their homeland - see story of Simo Commanda later.
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.
Part of the answer might be that the people who lived in the Trout/Talon narrows of this river must have been a transition between the Forest Tribes (Algongian speaking) of the east and the other tribes (Algonkian and Iroquian speaking) that lived on the shores of the Great Lakes and the rather advanced (agriculturaly) Hurons of Southern Ontario. They would be influenced by all of them because of large number people passing through their area!
I must digress here because conventional knowledge and Geological Survey Canada Reports put the Great Lake control sills of this period at the east end of Trout Lake so I feel I must explain why I have extended water levels of the Great Lakes to 25 kilometres further east at the end of Talon Lake.
I started looking for signs of ancient water levels around all of the North Bay/Trout/Turtle/Talon Lake area and when I read the Geological Surveys Canada - GSC 71-26 report and it's attendent map 3-1971 both are used in the composite that follows which indicates that there are relic beach (strand) lines at 213 m ASL around the North Bay area.
From then on I noted that these water marks (and eventually added water scouring of hard precambrian gneisses and rock) which substantiated this elevation.
For the last 40 years I have assumed GSC Harrison's (GSC) control point of a rock sill at the east end of Trout Lake was correct.
Then last fall (November 2012) I was at my son's home between Talon Lake and Kaibaskong Bay and realized that this farm was actually lakebed up to that 213 metre elevation.
So using Harrison's old GSC map 3-1971 and using Google Earth's marvelous capability I came up with the following composite :
I really do not understand why the Nipissings (I.R. 10) would want to share this much of their land containing this much Cultural Heritage with the Algonkians of the current Algonquin Land Claim who simply were not here prior to after the mid 1830's !
The following text and images were transcribed from the Tyyska/Allen report - "Archaeology from North Bay to Mattawa" dated April 73, This is a book I got from a bookseller Welland and feel that the authors of this report didn't seem to be quite sure of why, who, what or even when these structures were created but they did indicate that these structures are very old.
Being very familiar with the area I also found it interesting to note that all the bottoms of the five rock structures outlined in this report are all about the same level of 213 metres of elevation A.S.L. and that all contain evidence of ancient shorelines in the immediate areas (this substantiated my claim of the east end of Talon Lake being the water level control.)
There was another report of the same era entitled "THE HISTORY OF THE MATTAWA WILD RIVER PARK which on page 5 states "there were probably primitive peoples wandering along the banks of the Mattawa. These aborigines, known as Paleo-Indians, would have eked out their subsistence by hunting game and gathering berries,with fluted stones and spear-points as their only tools." I have to challenge that report because:
these Paleo-peoples seem to be at least or probably more advanced than our European anscestors of five thousand years ago.
the people at Pembroke downstream had copper tools and implements (over a thousand years earlier than most European cultures.)
And they had, at least, as good lithic tools.
So there was a culture on the Mattawa River that was far better developed than the author indicated in her Mattawa Wild River Park missive.
Lets examine a transcription (in black) and images of parts of the Tyyska/Allen report of these stone structures.
(CbGu-1) STONE STRUCTURE - Trout Lake
We are now aware of multiple unique rock structures on Trout and Talon Lakes. Essentially, they comprise low stone walls (piled without mortar), pathways, stairways and pavements, arranged into structures of many different sizes, shapes and layouts."
"The largest and most elaborate of these stone structures (Fig 14) is located on Trout Lake.
"This enigmatic structure is built on the side of a slope and consists of a series of long, low walls that seem to delineate of boundaries of definite pathways. These paths twist around and sometimes inter(p18)connect; they enclose at least one large area that be an activity area. At the extreme west is a long line of stones that seem snake-like, by virtue of a mound in the shape of a serpent's head and of abrupt changes of line directly behind the head."
(the above sketch is oriented north to south putting the "snake" on the right. Actually this "snake" points due north.)
"The paths are clearly demarcated and contain stairways as shown. These are real stairways made of flat rocks arranged into steps. In some places, under the soil, that foot can detect some evidence (p18) of possible pavements, rocks arranged to form an artificial floor over the bedrock. Another measure of antiquity would be the extent of lichen growth on the surfaces of exposed rock."
"In three places, there are picture or images that are scratched on rock, two definitely man-made and one probably natural."
"One of these pictures represents two stick men scratched on a rock at a point where there appears to be a landing.
If the (p19)
imagination roams free, it appears as if the lower man might be pointing into the central area, while the upper might be pointing up the higher flight of steps. However this interpretation might introduce concepts that are foreign to the thought world that created these features. (p20)
"The second figure is a triangle scratched into the rock with something above it as well."
"From one way of looking at it, this may be a highly stylized body and head; alternatively, it looks very much like conventionalized representation of the Ojibway mide lodge (q.v. Bureau of Americal Ethnology)."
It is even more likely that much later aboriginals discovered these ruins and were equally astounded and puzzled by them. To claim them as there own they scratched these images and markings in to the rock. If this was done by the builders there would be many more of them at each of the structures.
"The third figure looks like natural stratification on a large rock in the central area although there are two curious features about it. The image is one of parallel lines with a swollen section"
(p21) This rock is about 6.5 foot long and 4 foot wide so I doubt it was moved there. This intrusion points due north. It will be found that all of the rock structures have that orientation.
"As the structure now exists, it covers an area 135 feet long and 85 feet wide. It rises a vertical (p22) distance of some 21 feet. However, it is possible that we did not see all of the original structure. For example hydro line and road construction have obscured or destroyed evidence of structure along the northern and eastern periphery; This particularly apparent in the vicinity of the two stick men where an entire pathway may have been destroyed. It also possible that there is a large platform at the very highest part of the structure although this area is a tangle of impenetrable scrub at the moment."
(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."
In October 2014 a friend of mine and I visited Camp Island (my first time in over 50 years and the trees are much bigger and more numerous.) On the second attempt we feel that we actually found this site but in my estimation it is actually a quarry processing site devoted to turning heamatite boulders into ochre. The "the depression is virtually stone free" is what I think that the cast off rock from this extraction created this and has little to do with paving. Just below the cobbles of old shore line there is a boulder with definite red face on a fire cracked face which means that at least part of that boulder was hematite or iron oxide.
Just a little higher than that there are a number of small and large depressions that to my mind might have been where heamitite boulders could have been extracted. They would have been fire cracked and broken to get them out. I did not disturb them but wondered at what broken rock the depressions had.
I arrived at this conclusion partly because of the Tyyska/Allen report devotes pages 32 to 48 on Port de l'Efner which was a ochre just below the Parraseux Falls within a kilometre or 2 of the ancient Lake with the 213 metre shorelines. I had visited this area before as I used to hunt out of cabin at the Parraseaux in my younger days. When I sourced The Tyyska/Allen report I devoted considerable time to pages 32 to 48 on this ochre extraction mine and it's refineries above particularly when I realized that the level control point for the Great Lakes was the east end of Talon Lake. Early in May of 2013 I visited this site again. The markings on stones of the refinery were very similar to those a year later at Camp Island.
Later consultation with a professional geologist who had also recently visited Camp Island indicates that there are a lot of these iron oxide boulders north of this.
Along with this the Tyskaa/Allen report talks of these boulders being found on the shores of Talon Lake towards the end of that discourse.
Just a month ago I recently got anecdotal evidence of another ochre mine in this area. This person explained to me that the common red paint that covered buildings in the early times were ochre as pigment, linseed oil and skim milk (something I had read about earlier.)
(CbGs-1) STONE STRUCTURE - Talon Lake.
" The last coherent rock structure found was on Talon Lake (Figs. 25, 26). Situated some 50 feet above the lake, it measured 40 feet by 20 feet. It includes a pathway that ascends the beach and climbs up beside a bedrock outcrop. The pathway bifurcates, one fork entering an artificial, stonelined cul-de-sac, while the other climbs a flight of stairs onto a bedrock platform. The platform is surronded by a semi-circular pile of stones. In the middle of the platform, there is a large, rectangular rock. This structure seems to be a lookout of some sort." (p37)
"The Trout and Talon Lake rock structures are unique."
"The Serpent Mounds Near Peterborough and the Laurel burial mounds in the Rainy River district are features built on a similar scale, and may somehow be related to the North Bay structures. However, these two mound sets are built of sand, not stone;
Here I am going to refer you to a book Sacred Places, North America, 108 destinations
That points out for a few pages after 286 that there are a number of stone structures (similar to these) in Wisconsin. After a visit to a number of these I became convinced they were all very near ancient beach strandlines. I have no way of connect the isostatic rebounds from there to here.
the North Bay structures are not really mounds; and there is no evidence of burials associated with the North Bay rock structures."
"Northern features that share a technology with the North Bay rock structures (namely, free manipulation of stone) include things like Pukaskwa pits on cobble beaches
, cairn in Algonquin Park and elsewhere, and lacrosse courts along the shore of Georgian Bay."
"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
There are living sites occupying the south east periphery of Camp Island in Trout Lake (otherwise know as Campers' Island, Kirkwood Island and Millen (Milne) Island). The full extent of these sites is unknown, both culturally and geographically, but we have established the existence of Middle and Lake Woodland occupations on the island. Unremarkable in terms of their artifacts, the sites are extremely interesting in terms of their preserved domestic contexts. Actually, one would expect that further excavation would begin to uncover an interaction between north and southern Ontario cultures. Furthermore, the sites are located beside one of the newly discovered rock structures of Trout and Talon Lakes. Indeed this is the only case where a habitation site is known close to any of the rock structures.
It is important to continue studying the Camp Island living sites. If excavation continues, it must pay close attention to the settlement pattern of the site, its artifact distributions, detailed stratigraphy and even soil chemistry. Otherwise, much more will be destroyed than recovered. Should careful study continue, one can foresee the development of a significant interpretive resource in the very near future.
The rock structures remain a mystery; we know of nothing quite like them. If they have silently evaded notice for centuries, they are certainly bursting apon the world now. In addition to the four described in this report there is another structure, large and complex, on Talon Lake. Squaw point has a large number of smaller features on it, looking like artificial stone arrangements. It is quite clear that we have stumbled upon some (p49) sort of local complex. It is possible that this architectural complex is genuinely unique to the general Mattawa River area.
I would strongly recommend further study of these rock structures. Particular attention should be paid to the first Palframan structure (CbGu-2) for its intrinsic interest as the most elaborate of the known structures, to the Camp Island structure (CbGt-2) for its nearness to possibly associated living sites. Further survey of the appropriate boulder beach lines and bedrock ridges around Trout and Talon Lakes is indicated in an attempt to locate any more of these structures that might exist. In addition, I would recommend an examination of all document written by early travellers (Champlain, the Jesuits, the fur company employees, pioneers, etc.) with the goal of gathering information concerning these structures. It is also important to approach local Indian people and leaders concerning any interest they might have in the rock structures, and to elicit any interest they might be able or willing to communicate about them. It would not be good to trespass unwittingly upon or violate something that might be very important to them.
That pretty much concludes the stone structures of 1973 Tyyska/Allen report.
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
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
, when he wrote this book "Arrow North" from which I have transcribed the following:
"It is time now that we focused our attention on these particular bands in the area covered by our story. They shared the same general terrain, the Laurentian Highlands portion of the Cold Forest environment, characterized, as we have seen, by thick forest growth, rocks and swamps, interlaced by many creeks, rivers and lakes. All these Indians belong to the one category, the Migratory Tribes of the Eastern Woodlands, but partake to some degree of three tribal intluences, that of the Algonquin bands found between the St. Maurice River and Lake Temiskaming, of the Ojibway bands found along the north shore of the central Great Lakes, and of the Crees to the north and west of the Height of Land. They have, as we have seen, the common basis of the Algonkian tongue, the most musical of all the Indian languages. They share the common environment of Lake Temiskaming
waterways and its environs. And because of pressures of competition and the need for survival, these bands were thrown together into a working alliance which modified their tribal inheritances, fusing them into a harmony of necessity, blurring the sharp tribal distinctions. We shall see this cooperation at work later on. "
"What has been said so far about religious practices has dealt with a relatively unsophisticated part of the Indian's history. It might be a better description to call it a "purer" part. For the Indian society, and this applied to all the tribes, was not static but dynamic, although restricted to fairly slow changes. As in the religions of all primitive societies, the initial instinctive patterns became progressively more sophisticated (though we should not say more "refined".) The emergence of the "medicine man" signalled the appearance of the specialist, first, perhaps, in the arts of healing the body, and later in the arts of affecting the mind and the spiritual side of man. Inevitably, the use of natural healing agents became all mixed up with invented nagical preparations, potions, and charms. Where there was ignorance, the inventiveness of the medicine man filled the gap. He would be, in all likelihood, a man of strong imagination and emotional (p39) power, well suited to undergo or to induce trance states and to deal with visions and their interpretation. He could become a seer or prophet, or simply remain an adviser to the chief in the realm of the spiritual. Certainly he was an expert on all the taboos of his group. Since he was always associated somehow with mystery, his power tended to grow, even to the point of challenging or overcoming the chiefs powers. And since power, or the greed for power, tends to corrupt, the medicine man in time tended to turn into something else, the sorcerer, one who trafficked in evil things like curses as well as good things like charms. White magic, if you like, tended to turn into black magic."
[Authors note: I think Cassidy says above is that some people would become "medicine men" but there didn't seem to be any organized religion (for lack of a better term) among the Algonquins. It seems that the clans only got together at some favourite spot a couple of times a year.
This didn't seem as prevelant with the aboriginals that frequent the Lake Nipissing area which just might have enjoyed a surplus so early French literature indicates that in they went off on trading missions with the Hurons (Wyandots - Iroguoian language) in the fall and often over wintered there coming back in the spring to collect more fish and furs (particularly ochre and eels) to trade for the next year. Remember that was before the Haudonsenee destroyed or scattered the Hurons (over 20,000), Petun (numbers unkown). Nipissing (800 on Lake Nipissing) and Forest tribes of the Ottawa in order to bring the beaver back down to New Amsterdam (New York.) These mauraders were well supplied with guns and ammunition by the Dutch to the point where their weaponry outnumbered all the other guns in Canada including the French.
"Pure shamanism, then, tended to turn into sorcery, with its secret practices. From this point on it was only a natural progression to the development of a priesthood based on secret knowledge and practice. In order to mystify and impress the uninitiated ordinary man, conscious jugglery and trickery (present in all primitive societies) was developed under the control of this priestly brotherhood. The teaching of these mystifying skills to apprentices led to the formation of secret medicine societies. In time these developed into highly refined hierarchies of magic and mystery. The ''Midewiwin'' of the Ojibwe, known as a ''medicine lodge'', was a very sophisticated example, one which had considerable influence of the Algonquin bands to the north and east of the Ojibway territories. The Nipissings particularly were given to sorcery. This lodge was a guild or fraternity of medicine men and their apprentices, divided into levels or grades of achievement and revelation, with progressively more secret rites and skills, and, of course, with greater and greater psychological power over others. As the Midewiwin lodge's sophistication grew, its influence over neighboring tribes increased. Hungry for the secrets that might improve their lives, these tribes sent their own apprentice shamans for instruction by the Midewiwin, and thus, for the Ojibways, provided a conscious or unconscious agency for cultural overlordship over their neighbours without the necessity of war, for the graduate medicine men would return bringing with them Ojibway customs and trade links as well as their new medicine skills."
[Author's note" It is this quote that got me to wondering about the stone structures being acadamies for the proliferation of Midewiwin] states that "is a spiritual society found historically among the Algonquian of the Upper Great Lakes (Anishinaabe), northern prairies and eastern subarctic. Once widespread, the Midewiwin became less prevalent after the arrival of Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the largest Midewiwin societies are found in parts of Ontario, Manitoba, Wisconsin and Minnesota.is a spiritual society found historically among the Algonquian of the Upper Great Lakes (Anishinaabe), northern prairies and eastern subarctic"
So it seems that in researching this and "migiis shells" that this was mostly an Ojibway religion which would eliminate the people of the current Algonquin Land Claim.
"One interesting byproduct of this process was the brisk trade in charms and amulets made by the Ojibways. This, the reader will note, was a purely mercenary effort, denying the original concept that the amulet was a personal and non-transferable thing, and thus turning an originally rather pure faith into a much cruder superstition. But most Indians in Northeastern Canada came to believe in the greater potency of these Ojibway amulets-turned-fetishes, and traded for them in an increasing degree. The Midewiwin lodge, however, gave some positive values as well. Sophisticated discussions within the brotherhood tended to transform the cruder animistic religions of all the tribes into a more refined system of beliefs. Had the arrival of the white culture not intervened," (p40)
It is quite possible that a religion to match the improved political Ievel of the modern Ojibways and the modern Iroquois might have developed and flourished. As it was, this never happened. The cultural impact of Christianity either replaced or destroyed the Indian religious culture in a short time."
The people who lived on Lake Nipissing and it's outlet Trout/Turtle/Talon Lakes were known as Sorcerers and Magicians acording to the writings of
OntarioSessionalPapers1918v50p17Nipissings - Nicolet who spent 9 years with the Nipissings.
Murray Leatherdale's book from Brule to Booth brings consensus to this as he quotes Gabrial Sagard's writings (circa 1625) pp. 122-123. I also have the French records and the American Journeys translations.
"We passed through several tribes of savages but we only stayed a night with each, so as to proceed on our way without pause, except among the Epicerinys or Sorcerers, where we ha|ted for two days, both to rest from lhe fatigue of the journey and to do some trading with that tribe. It was there that I came upon Father Nicolas (Nicolet?) near the lake, where he was waiting for me. This happy encounter and the sight of each other gave us much joy, and we received mutual comfort, along with some other Frenchmen, during the short time our people stayed there. Our feast consisted of a little fish that we had and boiled (P122) pumpkins
which I found more delicious than any food I have ever eaten, so exhausted and worn out was I with hunger. Then we had to set out, each separately with his own company."
"This tribe of Epicerinys is called Sorcerer because of the great number of these among them, and of these magicians who profess to converse with the devil in little round towers isolated and apart, which they build on purpose to receive oracles in them and to predict or learn something from their master. They are also in the habit of casting spells and inflicting certain diseases which are only cured by one another's special spell and remedy. There are some of those so stricken from whose body serpents issue and long bowels, and sometimes these come out only half way and then re-enter; all which things are devilish inventions of the wicked sorcerers. But apart from their magic spells and communications with the demons I found them very polite."
These waterways were described many times in writing (and sometimes with sketch mapping which doesn't tell much) between 1620 to 1845 mostly by the French and the NWC fur traders
None indicated Habitated areas except for Mattawa (HBC post, some houses), Lake Nipissing (LaRondes House - La Vase River, HBC post - off mouth of Sturgeon River.)
It seems that from the beginning of the Iroguois' maurading there is very few written descriptions of shelters or habitations except for the Mattawa HBC post(1830's), the La Ronde house (after 1780), and "indian village" and HBC Post (1854) both near the mouth of the Sturgeon River. To me, the Mattawa River and Lake Nipissing area seems to have been almost completely deserted yet paradoxically the North West Fur trade went through regularly until 1821 and then the HBC brigades of express canoes for another 30 years.
After the Haudonsanee genoside there was also the indication that this countryside was just about devoid of beaver until after 1700 but there seemed to be no mention of human habitations.
Again I must digress. In 1845 the first precision survey in Canada map was done by a party led by Sir William E. Logan, the Father of Canadian Geology, and founder of the Geological Survey of Canada."
This survey has been summarized -
"William E. Logan's 1845 Survey of the Upper Ottawa Valley" -- Charles H. Smith and Ian Dyck for the Canadian Museum of Civilization -- ISBN-13: 978-0660196626 and this adds to the conclusive evidence as to the location of the three La Vase Portages one hundred and sixty years ago! It defines
the location of portages proving that they should have been protected by the Public Lands Act Item 65(4) ever since the township of Ferris was surveyed in 1880 which also identified them and tied them into the lots and concessions! Unfortunately not one had the normal protection (1chain ROW of the legal survey which should have been applied.
From the book mentioned above.
"Logan was accomplished in the techniques of field surveying. He won a surveying instrument for the highest mark in his class and then developed his surveying skills mapping coal deposits in Wales."
"Logan used a variety of surveying instruments which he obtained from suppliers in England. These included prismatic compasses, several Rochon micrometer telescopes, theodolites, levels, mercury-column barometers, and pocket sextants. "
The Rochon micrometer was the forerunner of the modern optical rangefinder and seems to be at least as accurate until those with lcd displays arrived (circa 1980!)
Page18 - "Assisted by Angus McDougall P.L.S. (also an accredited and professional surveyor), they used different sized Rochon micrometer telescopes with targets (disks on a calibrated rod or pole) to measure distances (sometimes, over miles) along the upper Ottawa and Mattawa rivers. Each telescope had a different magnification, and hence a different range. They were calibrated against a distance which made them very accurate "21 chains (1386 feet) accurate to within 2 - 4 feet!"
Page 22 - "Because of weather and competing demands on his time, Logan made complete astronomical observations at only four key locations - at the mouth of Bennett's Brook (5 miles upstream from Des Joachims rapids on the Ottawa, where he started his measured survey, at the mouth of the Mattawa River, at the mouth of the La Vase River on Lake Nipissing, and at the mouth of the Kipawa River, south of Lake Timiskaming. Inclement weather prevented an observation at the most northern part of the lake.
Preliminary calculations of latitude and longitude were entered in his field notebook. The final calculations were completed upon his return to Montreal, and noted on his compilation maps of the Ottawa River."
In his final report, Logan (1847a:12) concluded that:
"There appear to be no discrepancies of any moment, between our
latitudes by [solar] observation and by account [by calculation from
topographic survey measurements]. They agree to within thirty
seconds." Given the vast area surveyed a closure value
that accurate even now would be something that present-day surveyors would be proud of.
"In Logan's time, however, nothing had yet been done toward establishing a control framework for mapping the country but subsequent work by the Geological Survey of Canada laid the groundwork for the control framework we have today."
Follow up government surveys eventually built that control framework:
The Mattawan to Nipissing Road by Duncan Sinclair 1853. Both this and Logan's survey showed the location of the La Ronde House (NWC) and vestiges of a HBC (nastawagn) roadway at the head of the third La Vase Portage and the last rapids. Any other habitation was not recorded.
The mapping of the the Ottawa River and the Mattawa River by Murray P L S (1853.) Exactly the same as above - for some reason this was done directly over Sir W. E. Logan's survey and map which changed little, if at all, didn't have the detail that was in Logan's published Journals. Curiously enough "indian" villages and "chantiers" show in this series of maps which included the mapping of the east part of Lake Nipissing and the South River by Murray P L S (1854.)
Only the mapping of the west part of Lake Nipissing and the Sturgeon River by Murray P L S (1855) showed an "Indian" village close to the I. R. 10 village.
The mapping of the French Rivers by Murray P L S (1856)
The mapping by Shanly/Stewart to locate the canals/locks for Georgian Bay Ship Canal (1858) showed none.
The mapping by T. C. Clarke professional engineer for the CPR (1860)
(who recommended lowering the proposed water level of Lake Nipissing and continued the mapping the Vueve River and did the line that finally turned out to be the CPR. )also showed nothing.
I have all the legal surveys mapping of:
Widdifield (1883) shows clearing (Scottish names and CPR)
Ferris (1880) 6 settlers
Bonfield (1882) arable land well settled.
Calvin (mills and a couple of farms.)
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
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
"First. The Government of Quebec, bounded on the Labrador Coast by the River St. John, and from thence by a Line drawn from the Head of that River through the Lake St. John to the South End of the Lake nigh Pissin; from whence the said Line crossing the River St. Lawrence and the Lake Champlain in Forty five Degrees of North Latitude, passes along the High Lands which divide the Rivers that empty themselves into the said River St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Sea; and also along the North Coast of the Baye des Chaleurs, and the Coast of the Gulph of St. Lawrence to Cape Rosieres, and from thence crossing the Mouth of the River St. Lawrence by the West End of the Island of Antiocosti, terminates at the aforesaid River of St. John."
And further along
"And We do further declare it to be Our Royal Will and Pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under Our Sovereignty, Protection, and Dominion, for the Use of the said Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included within the Limits of Our said Three New Governments, or within the Limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company, as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea from the West and North West, as aforesaid; and We do hereby strictly forbid, on Pain of Our Displeasure, all Our loving Subjects from making any Purchases or Settlements whatever, or taking Possession of any of the Lands above reserved, without Our especial Leave and Licence for that Purpose first obtained."
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
121 Timmins Street
North Bay, ON P1B 4K2