9 HISTORICAL TIMECHART FOR THE PEOPLE OF LAKE SUPERIOR Pre-Contact 9,500 BP TO 3000 B.P Aboriginal peoples of diverse cultural traditions occupy the Lake Superior region beginning in the Paleo- Indian period during the final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period around 9,500 BP (Before Present), extending into the Archaic period (between 5000 B.P. to 3000 B.P) and Woodland period. Wild rice (manoomin) is part of the Ojibwe migration story. Legends tell of the people coming from the east to Lake Superior for the “food that grows on the water”. Nomadic huntergatherers live in small groups, moving in keeping with the seasonal availability of fish, game, wild grains, and other food sources. An ethic of generosity, reciprocity and redistribution is universal among Aboriginals. Rocks and minerals are quarried and used for tools, weapons and decorative objects. Using little more than stone hammers and hatchets, enough copper was extracted to support a sophisticated trading network that spread over much of the continent. NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE OF CANADA On February 26, 2016, a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque to commemorate the national historical importance of the Cummins Pre-Contact Site was unveiled outside of Thunder Bay. The site provides an archaeological representation of an area used by Indigenous people as a major quarry, workshop and habitation area with a rich source of raw materials, particularly taconite stone, used in the creation of tools. Like many sites in the area, it was was located near water supplies, it was along caribou migration routes and it provided access to fish, small game, and waterfowl. MANOOMIN, TRADITIONAL WILD RICE The only grain indigenous to North America, manoomin is highly nutritious and gluten-free. Traditionally, it is the first solid food given to a baby and one of the last foods served to Elders as they pass into the Spirit world. Manoomin is harvested during Manoominike Giizis, the wild rice-making moon in August when the “food that grows on the water” comes home to the people.
1600s First Contact and Co-existence 1650s 1671 1676 1690 The search for the Northwest Passage, the sea route connecting the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Arctic Ocean, is a focus of extensive exploration. The first French explorers, traders and Jesuit missionaries are told by Indigenous peoples in the east that there is a route to the west at Gichionigaming or the Great Carrying Place (present day Grand Portage). The explorers approach Kitchigami, the great inland sea by way of the Ottawa River and Lake Huron. They refer to their discovery as le lac supérieur. A Peace and Friendship Treaty is signed by 14 Chippewa tribes from the upper Great Lakes invited to a grand council in the name of France’s Sun King, Louis XIV by Louis de Buade de Frontenac, the Governor General of New France. The Treaty establishes community bonds between the Ojibwe and the French settlers. With the cultural differences in land use, the Ojibwe understand that the land is a fully shared resource while the French are intent upon ownership for territorial advantages. Many of the European traders and woodsmen, especially the unlicenced “woodrunners” or coureurs de bois, now spend much of their time in the western interior. Their children with First Nations women become the Métis. ----------------------------- 1679 The first trading post, Fort Camanitigoya is established on the Kaministiquia River at Baie Du Tonnere (present day Thunder Bay). It is founded by Daniel Greyselon Sieur de L’Hut, a French explorer searching for the Northwest Passage. Soon after, the trading post, Fort Charlotte (present day Grand Portage) is established near the mouth of the Pigeon River on Lake Superior. Fighting between Britain and France spreads to North America. Conflicts between First Nations tribes prevail. For many years, the French and British allied with First Nations, raid each other’s forts, trading posts, farms and settlements. The conflicts and alliances have significant and wide-ranging impacts on boundaries, trade and way of life. In the mid-1700s, on the western shores of Lake Superior, warfare ensued between the Sioux and Chippewa (early ancestors of the Ojibwe). Gradually, the Chippewa forced the Sioux westward to the prairies and gained sole control over trade on the western end of Lake Superior. THE TRAPPING TRADITION Before contact, trapping was an integral part of the Indigenous way of life, providing food, clothing and shelter. European fur traders relied on the First Nations to trap and skin the animals and bring them to the trading depots where the trappers traded them for raw materials and finished goods. Eventually, to satisfy this economy, trapping became an end in itself, with extensive trapping putting some species in jeopardy. THE LEGEND OF THE GREEN MANTLE According to legend, Ojibwe Chief White Bear’s daughter protected their people from an imminent attack from the enemy Sioux with an ingenious plan. Green Mantle entered the Sioux camp on the Kaministiquia River pretending to be lost. Bargaining for her life, she told the Sioux that she’d bring them to her father’s camp. Leading a chain of connected canoes, Green Mantle led the warriors over Kakabeka Falls to their deaths. The brave girl lost her life but her tribe was saved. The legend says that the figure of Green Mantle can be seen in the mist of Kakabeka Falls as a monument to the maiden that gave her life to save her people. 10