For thousands of years before colonial times, the members of Indigenous communities travelled from far and wide to gather at the meeting of the three rivers: the Ottawa, the Gatineau, and the Rideau; from the Chaudière Falls to the mouth of the Gatineau River.
This area is rich in natural resources — plants, animals, and fish, and also provided a convenient meeting place for trade and communication among communities.
Of special significance are the burial place at Hull Landing and the Chaudière Falls, a sacred place for meeting and sharing in ceremonies.
The burial grounds in the Ottawa-Gatineau corridor including Hull Landing were important for rituals of respect and bonding with the landscape. Victoria Island, located under the Portage Bridge, continues to provide this sacred space to local and visiting Indigenous people.
The National Capital Region, which includes the city of Ottawa, remains unceded Algonquin-Anishnaabeg territory.
We encourage our members and guests to reflect on this, our connected history, and ways we can contribute to reconciliation.
Source: HSO Member Margaret Back’s summary of Canadian Museum of History Archeologist (retired) Jean-Luc Pilon’s April 2017 presentation to our Society.
REGISTER at http://tinyurl.com/HSO-30-Nov-2022 for our free online presentation scheduled for Wednesday, November 30th at 7pm.
The Ottawa Valley has been home to the proud Algonquin people for as many as 8,000 years. Long before the arrival of Europeans, the Algonquins lived, hunted trapped, fished, socialized and traded on both sides of the Ottawa River and along its tributaries.
Councillor Merv Sarazin, band councillor Pikwakanagan First Nation and direct descendant of the Grand Chief Constant Pinesi, explores the Algonquin people's vital connection to this history.
Here is the Zoom registration link: tinyurl.com/HSO-30-Nov-2022
Follow this HSO presentation by Randy Boswell, Carleton University professor and journalist, as he investigates the ongoing controversy over our commemorative landscape and explores whether there are constructive healing ways forward.
Imagine going online 500 years ago to find something on Google Maps. You’d see no grid of streets with familiar, mostly British names; no array of colourful icons directing you to coffee shops or LRT stations. What you’d have seen then is a vast wilderness broken only occasionally by a few narrow, meandering paths. These trails were winding, not because the trail makers were lost, but because the trail makers were following the path of least resistance. To the Anishinabe traders, trappers and hunters, it made more sense to go around a steep hill rather than over it. It was easier and safer to go out of your way to cross a river at its narrowest or calmest point.
The Indigenous trails that criss-crossed the Gatineau and Ottawa valleys were ignored in later centuries by civil engineers and town planners who preferred their roads to be as straight as possible, regardless of the lay of the land. As a result, the early trailways of the Ottawa area have all but vanished, but thanks to Dr. Peter Stockdale, they’re coming back to life.
Peter is continuing his research to find the routes used by the Anishinabe, to have these trails marked with informative plaques, and where possible turned back into public trails for recreational use. Peter is the founder of Kichi Sibi Trails.
In his research, Peter has confirmed that there are different types of Indigenous trails. Portage trails cross the highland between watersheds. Ritual trails were often challenging walks that lead to remote vistas were the solstice and equinox events could be watched. There are also possible “war paths” that the Anishinabe of this area may have used as much for defence as for attack. Peter is still looking into the heritage of these types of trails.
We were also fortunate to have Barb Sarazin and Merv Sarazin join in on Peter’s discussion. Barb and Marv are current councilors of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. Barb told a personal tale about her family and how they came to be involved in the affairs of the First Nation. Merv talked about his preferred way to get around; which is by canoe. Although land trails that Peter has been investigating were necessary to get to final destinations, the rivers and streams were the main highways for Anishinabe travelers. Merv has been making canoes since we was a child.
Find out more about the ongoing work that Peter and his team at Kichi Sibi Trails have undertaken at the Kichi Sibi Trails Facebook page.
Check out the HSO YouTube channel for a video of the full presentation.
Dr. Peter Stockdale, founder of Kichi Sibi Trails, explores Indigenous trails of Ottawa-Gatineau, eastern Ontario, and western Quebec. In addition, Barb Sarazin & Merv Sarazin, from Pikwakanagàn First Nation, share in the conversation about Algonquin traditions.
If you missed our virtual Speaker Series presentation "Kettle Island: A Bridge to Ottawa's Past" with Randy Boswell, or you'd just like to watch it again, you can view this presentation online.
Here's a link to the recorded video of Randy's talk. Enjoy!