First Nations History
in the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Area
May 24, 2013: (Added photograph of thirty-six foot long Birch Bark Canoe)
Thanks very much to Mr. Ron Bernard who has sent along the following wonderful photograph of a canoe built by members of the
Algonquin Nation at Pikwàkanagàn (formerly called Golden Lake). Last Wednesday Mr. Bernard gave a very interesting talk at the
Champlain Trail Museum in Pembroke. He explained the history and techniques for building a birch bark canoe.
Included in his presentation was the photograph below. This canoe was built in 1956 by Mr. Bernard's then 81 year old Grandfather, Mr. Matt Bernard.
It is now stored in the Canadian Museum of Civilization but will be moved to Pikwàkanagàn in the future.
March 10, 2016:
Drawings of two birch bark canoes from the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada area. Top Canoe is an Algonquin Gatineau River Canoe. Bottom Canoe is
an Ojibway canoe on the Ottawa River at Mattawa, Ontario.
Source: A Portfolio of the Sketches and Models of Edwin Tappan Adney, 1868-1950 as appears in the
Appendix to John McPhee's book The Survival of the Birch Bark Canoe.
The year 2013 marks the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's first canoe trip up the Ottawa River. In 1613, he travelled up the Ottawa River from
present-day Montreal, past what today is the City of Ottawa and proceeded upriver to the Pembroke, Ontario area. Morrison Island, off Pembroke,
was inhabited by the Algonquin Nation of the Ottawa River Watershed. Morrison Island was a longstanding meeting place for aboriginal peoples
there and the Algonquins, under Chief Tessouat, collected tolls from persons bypassing their their island via the river.
The summer of 1613 was when the Algonquin Nation discovered Europeans in the Ottawa Valley and made contact with them.
April 23, 2014:
New information found of the Irogois villages and some findings near the St. Lawrence River.
December 19, 2012:
Text Source below: Since Time Immemorial: Our Story
by Stephen McGregor, page 62
Keywords: Algonquin, Mohawk, French, Calumet Island, 1665, Pembroke, Ontario
Some Books about early Indigenous Peoples in Canada and in the Ottawa area:
Since Time Immemorial: "Our Story", by Stephen McGregor, The Story of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinàbeg, (The River Desert Algonquin Band
in the Ottawa area). See details posted on this page on January 4, 2004.
Algonquin Traditional Culture: The Algonquins of the Kitchissippi Valley: Traditional Culture at the Earliest Contact Period,
by Kirby J. Whiteduck, 2002, ISBN 0-9733543-0-5.
The above two books are the best available for the Ottawa area history of the Algonquin Nation!
September 21, 2013:
Sagard's Long Journey to the Country of the Hurons, a Digital Reproduction of Garbiel Sagard's Journey up the Ottawa River to the Huron territory in 1823-24.
Sagard was a lay Recollet brother. This is a terrific book by the Champlain Society, 1939 translation, edited by George M. Wrong
Native Peoples and Cultures of Canada by Alan D. McMillan, 1988, Douglas and McIntyre Publishing, Vancouver / Toronto,
Our Story: Aboriginal Voices On Canada's Past, 2004, Tantoo Cardinal et. al., the Dominion Institute and Doubleday Canada, ISBN 0-385-66075-8
Carleton University, HIST 3510A, Starts January 2013!
Aboriginal History: A Reader, Kristin Burnett and Geoff Read, Oxford University Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-19-543325-0,
Carleton University, HIST 3510A, Starts January, 2013!
August 28, 2013:
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King, Anchor Canada, 2013, ISBN 978-0385-66422-6,
HIST3510A at Carleton University, Fall 2013.
The Dispossessed: Life and Death in Native Canada, Geoffrey York, 1991, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 0-316-90272-1
Dickason, Olive Patricia, ed. The Native Imprint: The Contribution of First Peoples to Canada's Character. Volume 1, To 1815.
Athabasca: Athabasca University Educational Enterprises, 1995.(Athabasca University, HIST 368 - online course)
Ray, Arthur J. I Have Lived Here Since the World Began: An Illustrated History of Canada's Native Peoples. Rev. ed. Toronto: Key Porter, 2005.
(Athabasca University, HIST 368 - online course)
Wright, Ronald. Stolen Continents: Conquest and Resistance in the Americas. Toronto: Penguin, 2003.
(Athabasca University HIST 368 - online course)
The Algonkin Tribe: The Algonkins of the Ottawa Valley, An Historical Outline, by Peter Hessel, Kichesippi Books, Arnprior, ISBN 0-921082-01-0
Birchbark Canoe, by David Gidmark, 1989, General Store Publishing House, Burnstown, ISBN 0-919431-44-5.
Author learns birch bark canoe building from Algonquins - William Commanda. Names Jocko Carle, Cayer, Miranda, Chabot, Jerome, Ratt,
Makakons, Matchewan, Basil Smith, Amad Sarazin (Golden Lake).
April 18, 2013:
Natives and Newcomers: Canada's "Heroic Age" Rediscovered, by Bruce G. Trigger, Kingston and Montreal, McGill-Queen's University Press,
1985, ISBN 0-7735-0595-4.
See general history books at our bibliography web page.
Map Source: A Short History of Quebec Drawing Source: Where Rivers Meet: An Illustrated History of Ottawa
by John Dickinson and Brian Young, page 5 by Courtney C.J. Bond, page 15
Keywords: Samuel de Champlain, Charles William Jefferys, petun / tobacco sacrifice, Chaudiere Falls
Feb 10, 2012
The above map has been transcribed below.
From North to South and East to West:
Key: Iroquoian, Algonquian, Inuit:
Naskapi Beothuk Montagnais Micmac Cree Attikamek Algonquin Nipissing
Sauk Potawatomi Chippawa
Menominee Winnebago Mascouten Kickapoo Malisett-Passamaquoddy Eastern Abenaki Western Abenaki
St. Lawrence Iroquoian
Southern New England and Eastern Long Island Algonquian
Figure 2: Aboriginal people at the time of European contact: Language groups and tribes. It is important not to confuse the
Iroquoian speakers with the Iroquois Confederacy. The confederacy was one group of Iroquoian speakers, made up of the Mohawk,
Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca peoples.
Transcribed from the drawing above:
Canadian artist Charles William Jefferys (1869-1951) protrays, in the 1930 oil painting, the Indian Petun (tobacco) sacrifice
at the Chaudiere Falls portage. Samuel de Champlain related that a chief would ask for the protection of the spirits and then,
throw into the falls, tobacco gathered from each Indian in the party. Library and Archives Canada C-6090.
January 4, 2013:
The Crawford Purchase and the Rideau Purchase
The first land-grabs from the Indigenous Peoples in the Ottawa area
Source for above text: Treaty No. 9, Making the Agreement to Share the Land in
Far Northern Ontario in 1905, by John S. Long, McGill-Queens University Press, ISBN 978-0-7735-3761-3
The Missisauga Indians did not have authority to cede this land to the British Government. Their homelands were in the Toronto area (Mississauga).
The northern Rideau River and the Ottawa River Watersheds were Algonquin territory. The area from Oka / Kanesatake to Cornwall (Akwesasne / St. Regis) to
Belleville (Tyendinaga in Hastings County) was used by the Mohawk people. There are many issues with the early Treaty process. Who could speak for the first nations
people? How much did the Algonquins and Mohawks understand about the far-reaching concessions they were making to the French (before 1763) or to the
English (after 1763). The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is a crucial document in our history. I'll try and explore this over the next few months. ... Al
July 7, 2013: (New photo)
Sign marking the Entrance to Mohawk
Territory at Tyendinaga
February 28, 2010:
Here is a remarkable watercolour painting by Henry Pooley (Pooley's Bridge) dated 1833. This painting
is part of the National Gallery of Canada's collection.
I scanned this image from the Ottawa Citizen of May 18, 2002. It's part of a feature article by
Randy Boswell about early native history in the Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec regions.
Now, this painting is dated 1833. But the Rideau Canal was completed in 1832 and, in the painting, we see
the point where the headlocks of the Canal should be. Mr. Pooley must have created his watercolour from
memory, or from a sketch made, before the locks were constructed.
As a retired employee of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs I can mention
the existence of the Indian (membership) Registry at the Dept. HQ in Hull,
Les Terrases de la Chaudiere Complex, north tower). There you should be able to
look up, or have a staff member look up, the band membership lists for the Indian
Reserve at Maniwaki. If registered, her parents name should be there. Scan
the DIAND website for a phone contact and make an appointment to visit.
Good luck and good hunting.
... Will Dunlop
Odawa Native Friendship Centre,
12 Stirling Avenue, Ottawa,
ON K1Y 1P8
Tel: (613) 722-3811,
Fax: (613) 722-4667,
While recently visiting your web site I noted that you may have information that I have
been long searching for. My great grandmother grew up in a town very close to OKA.
She was native and I have been desperately searching for information to prove this.
Can you direct me to any sources of information regarding the area surrounding and including
OKA that may possess a listing of it's band members. I am searching for the 1800 era.
Thank So Much
March 20, 2015: added the following map showing the location of Oka.
April 10, 2004:
Susan Sirois is researching her Aboriginal ancestors in the River Desert
area near Maniwaki. Her Great Grandparents are Cecile McDOUGAL and John DALE.
I believe (somebody correct me if I'm wrong) that Maniwaki was an Algonquin fur trade
post in the 1600s and 1700s and later became important in the logging industry
in the 1800's. The Algonquin band was indigenous to the area.
There was a great influx of settlers around 1850, mostly arranged by
the Catholic Church who brought Irish settlers to the area (see the story of
Father Deleage around 1850 on our Maniwaki page). About the same time, OKA, which is
a Mohawk reserve, was re-organized and the Algonquin members from OKA went to
the River Desert area at Maniwaki and also to the region of Golden Lake east of Algonquin Park.
By the 1970's the population of Maniwaki was about 7,000 -- a mixture of
English, French and Algonquin speakers.
The last, and most prominent, of the original builders of birchbark canoes
were William Commanda and Jocko Carle. William Commanda was the Band Chief
until the 1970's. See below.
In the 1600's, the Jesuit missionaries worked at translating the Algonkian
language into French and English. This dictionary is stored at one of the
churches in Maniwaki. Algonkian was also spoken by Native groups other
than the Algonquins.
December 21, 2004:
I notice you have a number of individuals on your site requesting information
on Aboriginal genealogy. They may be interested in the section of the Canadian
Genealogy Centre site on this subject under "How to" at
http://www.genealogy.gc.ca/07/070702_e.html or click here.
January 14, 2004:
I have been looking for a long time for a book about Native Canadian
history in the Ottawa / Gatineau area.
Eric McGregor has just given me the book I was looking for.
His brother, Stephen McGregor, is the principal author. Here's the book:
Since Time Immemorial: "Our Story", by Stephen McGregor,
The Story of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinàbeg,
Kitigan Zibi Education Council, 2004, ISBN 0-9734910-1-9,
Research Team: Sandra Diabo Decontie and James Odjick, 344 pages.
This is a fascinating book describing the history of the Algonquin Nation
in the Ottawa River Valley and it's watershed, mainly in the River Desert
region at Maniwaki. As I read through the book, I'll add some material to
this web site regarding Algonquin history. Our web site until now has begun with
the first white settlers in this region, led by Philemon Wright in 1800.
Now, we will be able to push the beginning date back further.
The Ottawa River was named the Grand River by the French Canadien voyageurs.
The river was called Kitchissippi which is how you often see the name of the Ottawa River spelled.
As you would have seen in the book, Al, the proper Algonquin spelling
would be Kitchi Zibi (which does mean The Great River). (... Eric)
January 17, 2005:
We are also trying to ascertain the Algonquin name for the Rideau River.
This weekend I was in Maniwaki and I saw the book that you are talking
about. It is a great book, I love history. I am writing a booklet on
Merrickville and the business district from Past to present. You will get a
copy when I am finished if you would be interested in it.
The Algonquin inhabited Montague and Grenville counties where
Merrickville is located, so I know they must have had a name for the
Rideau river prior to 1600s.
I have a partial copy of a newspaper, dated June 5 1856 "Mirickville
Chronicle and Weekly Advertiser" @ http://jasonlackie.tripod.com
Yes al you do have permission to give my data on your website
March 17, 2005:
I'm Stephen McGregor, writer of Since Time Immemorial: Our Story. The Story of the
Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. Eric McGregor is my brother. He mentioned that you were
trying to determine the original Algonquin name for the Rideau River.
It's original name was "Pasapkedjiwanong," which means, "the river that passes
between the rocks."
May 18, 2005:
Constance Bay is on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River in Torbolton Township.
Today it is within the limits of the City of Ottawa. The bay and nearby
Constance Lake is named after Simon Constant who was a member of the Algonquin
nation and who was in the area before the white settlers arrived.
If you are driving towards Calabogie Lake in Renfrew County, you'll cross Constant
Creek which flows between Constant Lake and Calabogie Lake. These were also
named after Simon Constant who moved to Renfrew County from Torbolton.
Source: Carol Bennett, People of St. Patrick's, Mount St. Patrick Parish, 1843-1993.
Mr. John Jocko was a gentleman who lived near Calabogie Lake. He was also of native
descent and told me many stories of the Calabogie area when I knew him in the 1970's.
March 16, 2006:
October 20, 2007:
Daniel Bernard's ancestors, Jean-Baptiste BERNARD and Angelique SIMON were at the
Petite Nation (Buckingham area, including Lac Simon), later moving to Pembroke
(Renfrew County) in the 1880's.
December 3, 2007:
More about Oka / Lake of Two Rivers / Lac des deux montagnes / Kanesatake
Thanks to Jean-Claude Dubé for the following (also pertaining to the
Chabot / Sharbot page referred to in the previous posting ... Al)
I have no idea which First Nation that Francis Sharbot belonged to. He could have
come from the Lake of Two Mountains Mission because there were three groups living
there around the Catholic mission. Mohawk, Nipissing and Algonquin. The Mohawks
(Kanesatake) and the Algonquians were kept at opposite ends of the mission. Apparently,
most of the Mohawks moved out in the mid-19th century and went mostly to central
Ontario to live with other Iroquoian-speaking people. Francis Sharbot could also have
come from two other Mohawks societies: Kanahwake on Lake St. Louis south of Montreal
(30-45 minutes by canoe to Kanesatake) and Akwasasne, a bit upstream on the St.Lawrence,
south of Cornwall, Ont. (St.Regis).
If Chief Fransway was a Mohawk, he could have come from any one of those places.
If we can find out where he came from, most of our questions will be answered.
Kathy (my spouse) and I go to Sharbot Lake every few years to attend the Blue Skies
Folk Festival in Clarendon, 10 miles north of Sharbot Lake. We also spent a day
canoeing on Sharbot Lake. The lake is actually two lakes connected by a narrow stream
over which the highway passes. The east lake have very few cottages, except in
the south end. There are osprey nests on one of the islands in the North and we
enjoy bird watching also. Some time ago, in the North-east end, we went down a small
stream which connected to a beautiful but small lake having a vintage cottage hidden
in the pines. Then we went down a narrow and shallow but very pristine river that
we did not know existed. We turned around we got close to highway 7 and could hear
the cars going by.
I did not know then but I know now that was the Fall River that Francis Sharbot
took to go to Sharbot Lake. If you look on a topographical map, Fall River would
eventually connect to the Mississippi River West which flows into Mississippi Lake
and then eastward to the Ottawa River near Arnprior. Of course, Kanesatake, Kanahwake
and Akwasasne are downstream from there. So, Francis Sharbot did not from Fall River
but rather by Fall River.
Could you explain to me what is meant by "the Sharbots brought the Antoine here to
Ontario when they came for a second time" I do not understand.
Speaking of Antoine: when Peter Sharbot passed away at age 79 in Sharbot Lake on
Dec 18th, 1925, his brother-in-law, Leslie Antoine, said that Peter Sharbot's
parents were Francis Sharbot and Mary Susan Guigue. Do you know who she may be
and where she came from? There were 3 Antoines living with Francis and Mary Susan
and children in 1861.
I have turn of the century map of OSO County with Concession lines etc and we can
locate where Francis Sharbot and everybody else lived in Sharbot Lake.
That will be my next mailing on this subject. Probably in a few days.
I used to spend some time in the Ardoch, Ontario area, northwest of Sharbot Lake. We
used to canoe on the Mississippi River, from below the bridge near where the wild rice
is harvested in the fall, down to fish for pickerel in Crotch Lake.
Does anyone know if the village of Ardoch is part of the area of the Shabot Mishigama
First Nation ?
The Mattawa-North Bay Algonquins' website www.madadjiwan.com state in their history
section that the Sharbot (sic) Mishigama First Nation is based in Sharbot Lake and
that the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation is also based in Sharbot Lake . Gordon M. Day
has written a Glossary of Indian Tribal Names. I'll look at it when I go to the
National Library next week.
April 14, :
Thanks to Peggy Fraser who has sent along the link to the Ardoch First Nations Web Site and also
a link to an Honours M.A. Thesis by Susan B. DeLisle called Coming out of the shadows: Asserting identity and authority in a layered homeland:
The 1979-82 Mud Lake wild rice confrontation.
This is a very wide-ranging yet detailed paper regarding the Mud Lake Wild Rice Confrontation.
Keywords Manomin, Manoomin (the Algonquin word for Wild Rice).
December 4, 2007:
Hello Cathie and all:
There is another Mohawk reserve in Eastern Ontario. It is Tyendinaga, between Napanee
and Belleville, on the Bay of Quinte, west of Kingston. It would be just a few days'
canoe trip up to Sharbot Lake via a combination of a few rivers and lakes including
the Rideau Lakes which is part of the Rideau Canal. Three of the clans, Turtle, Wolf,
and Bear were Mohawk and the other two, Snipe and Deer were Onondaga (Fingers Lakes,
New York State). From the 37,000+ hectares that they had in early 19th Century, after
the War of 1812 with the U.S.A., it was wittled down to half as much within 30 years
and then wittled down more to about 6,000 hectares in mid-20th Century. Elizabeth
Simcoe, the wife on the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, wrote, in 1793, that
the Mohawks of Akwesasne "speak French, are much civilized, and have a good deal of
the manners of Frenchmen".
Many of the Iroquois that formerly lived around the French settlements on the Island
of Montreal were moved to Lake of Two Mountains (Oka / Kanesatake) (ethnic cleansing?). They and the
Algonquins and Nipissing staying at that Mission, had free use of vast woodlands
for hunting and fishing in what we now call the Lower Laurentians. Later on, in early
to mid 19th Century, these hunting grounds were encroached upon by french-speaking
settlers coming mostly from the north St.Lawrence River shore downstream of Montreal.
A lot of the Iroquois packed up their bags and went westward to a reserve near Lake
Simcoe, Ontario and other such areas. The Algonquin left en masse to Maniwaki
(River Desert Reserve).
So, Francis Sharbot (Fransway Shabotte) could have been a Mohawk and Mary Sue Guigue (Guigues ?)
could have been an Algonquin. The same goes for the housemates Antoine. Until we
figure that out and have proof that we can't refute, we will never know. If your uncle
can help you out with that, it would be greatly appreciated. But don't forget that
oral history, while very useful, is not absolutely true. Some things are glorified
and exagerated and other things are not said or even not known. Don't forget also
that traditonally, sons and daughters of Indian heritage, did not carry the names
of their father and mother. This makes it most difficult to establish a paternal or
February 12, 2008:
Here's a link to a very interesting article by Bill Allen called
"Nineteenth Century Aboriginal Farmers of the Madawaska River".
This link was sent in by Jean-Claude.
We have some photographs and material showing the Madawaska River system. This river, along with most of the tributaries of the Ottawa River,
have been extensively developed by the lumber industry, mining interests and mostly by the construction of Hydro-Electric dams which
have disrupted the natural flow of the rivers and have affected traditional aboriginal fishing, trapping and hunting operations.
The Madawaska River area has been one of the best walleye and trout fishing areas in Algonquin Territory over the generations.
November 6, 2008:
Here is a photograph of a Sioux Medicine Man, c. 1904. It is printed in
a pamphlet published by Library and Archives Canada. The undated pamphlet is called "Souvenirs
-- Canadian Council of Archives".
February 13, 2009:
We recently had a query regarding land being set aside in Lawrence Township which is
in what is now Algonquin Park. Jean-Claude has provided the following detailed reply:
What you are asking for is a complicated and convoluted series of events that happened
between 1857 and 1899.
First of all, it must be remembered that Indians demarcate their land and hunting grounds
according to physical features such as watersheds, heights of land, rivers, lakes etc and
not as townships which are colonial standards introduced by the Crown. The particular
Algonquin and Nipissing families or bands that lived in the area you are asking about were
spread out throughout Algonquin Park and the townships of Lawrence, Nightingale and Sabine,
on either side of the Madawaska River. The watershed is in the North-West of Algonquin Park.
(There are red ochre Indian pictographs on the steep cliffs of Mazinaw Lake at Bon Echo Provincial Park).
Many petitions were sent in the latter part of the 19th Century by Chiefs Pon Somogneche,
Nogn-nah-suh-way, Non-no-che-ke-shick, and especially, Peter Sharbot (Shabot,Chabot,Charbot).
There were two Federal Departments involved (Crown Lands and Indian Affairs) and Provincial
bodies in the succession of Upper Canada, Canada West and Ontario statutory governments.
These bureucracies were usually at cross-current with each other. Crown Lands favoured
settlers and loggers while Indian Affairs was supposed to look after the interests of the
The bottom line is that Indian Affairs implied at least once and possibly a number of times
that land would be reserved for native people in the Lawrence and neighbouring townships area.
Either through insufficient interest, incompetence, and, I suspect, lobbying by political
and financial interests, the issue of Reserve land in that area (in addtion to the
Golden Lake Reserve which was the land of neighbouring band or bands), was never resolved.
Your very best source of information on this subject is a thesis entitled "LAND OF WHICH
THE SAVAGES STOOD IN NO PARTICULAR NEED": DISPOSSESSING THE ALGONQUINS OF SOUTH-EASTERN
ONTARIO OF THEIR LANDS, 1760-1930. This was written by Marijke E. Huitema for her M.A.
degree at Queens University, Kingston in the year 2000. A microfiche copy is available at
Library and Archives Canada. I suspect that an inter-library loan could be made (???).
I would refer you to Chap.4, pages 106 - 117, under the title Petitions from Lawrence,
Nightingale, and Sabine Townships.
Do not forget that this is copyright material. Substantial extracts or reproduction requires
the author's permission. In fact, perhaps you should contact Marijke Huitema directly.
I would think that Marijke would be happy to provide you with much more detailed information
than I can provide you.
Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a pleasure to write these few words to you. Hope that you find them satisfactory.
March 10, 2010:
Read Native American History -- A Comparison of Two Articles, written by Al Lewis in 2003.
March 20, 2010:
Here is a photograph of a sign posted on the north side of Highway 7, near Sharbot Lake.
Seven words on the sign, but a picture is worth a thousand words.
Algonquins and Settlers -- what a nice turn of a phrase ... Al
July 31, 2010:
Photo Source: Birchbark Canoe, by David Gidmark, page 138
Keywords: Charlie Smith, River Desert Algonquin
David Makakons, Rapid Lake Algonquin
September 8, 2010:
Photo Source: Lanark Legacy, by Howard Morton Brown, page 7
Keywords: Merrickville, Edmond's Rapids, James Pattison Cockburn (Canadian Painter) (Cockburn Street in Richmond, Ontario)
October 18, 2010:
Painting of Two members of the Algonquin Indian Band, 1700's
Painting by Philea Gagnon
Source: Since Time Immemorial: "Our Story", The Story of the Kitigan Zibi Ashinàbeg, page 20
Keyword: Philea Gagnon
January 3, 2011:
The native community of St. Regis (American side) and Akwasasne (Canadian side) spans the Canada-U.S. border on the St. Lawrence River.
The residents consider their territory as a contiguous nation.
This 1840 painting by W.H. Bartlett is called "St. Regis, Indian Village, St. Lawrence"
Source: National Gallery of Canada
July 18, 2011:
Thanks to Sue for tracking down this early reference to the Algonquins in the Ottawa area:
A PIPE WITH A HISTORY
From the Sandusky (Ohio) Register
Captain Nugent, of the Water Works Board, has presented the writer with a pipe, or rather bowl of a pipe, which has an
Forty-nine years ago, Captain Nugent was in the employ of the Hudson Bay Company and was stationed 260 miles north of Bytown,
now Ottawa, at a trading post on the Gatineau River. The Algonquins, or Algonkains, once a powerful tribe of Indians, claimed
the country in which the captain was located as their own but the traders found them well disposed and more than ordinary
intelligent. The captain was standing on the bank of the river one morning, when a canoe containing two Indian boys was
overturned by the rapids. One of the boys the Captain succeeded in saving and the father manifested his gratitude to the
pale face by presenting him with a bead bag, a pair of moccasins and a pipe, the bowl of which was made of red granite.
The moccasins have long since disappeared, the bag the Captain still has, and the pipe of peace belongs to the writer......
The Cambridge Jeffersonian of May 22, 1884 (Cambridge, Ohio)
August 29, 2011:
Chief William Commanda, Algonquin Nation
Read the complete story by Jennifer Green in the Ottawa Citizen
Photograph by Bruno Schlumberger
The following is an excerpt from the Ottawa Citizen, August 8, 2011. Written by Teena Hendelman.
Read the complete article.
September 21, 2011:
Many aboriginal men from River Desert (Maniwaki, Quebec), were recruited into the Canadian Forestry Corps to serve
WW1 and WW2.
September 23, 2011:
Surnames of The Algonquin people, transcription of names, etc.
Roger Flansberry is researching the family of Alexis Morin and Mary Ann Metorvist Natawissi,
(Mary-Ann also carried surnames such as Natopesi). There is a nice discussion between Jean-Claude Dubé, Roger Flansberry and Taylor Kennedy on
the above page regarding surnames of the Algonquin people.
September 29, 2011:
Source: The Ottawa Citizen, September 29, 2011, page C1
January 23, 2012:
I live in the Britannia area and am interested in what settlements existed prior to the arrival of the French.
I read an early history of the Britannia area and there is only one page devoted to early history.
I understand that there was a trail linking the Britannia area to Manotick to the Rideau River, but other than that there is
As a canoe and kayak enthusiast, I know that landing above the rapids in Britannia would have been a natural stopping area,
and that access to water at the foot of the rapids would have made the spot a valuable one to be able to access water without
cutting ice during winter months. I also know that living outdoors at the end of a stretch of rapids in the winter is rather
unpleasant due to the high humidity generated by the water flow of the rapids. Living at the foot of rapids
would have put layers of frost on shelters.
It is possible also that there were some settlements above the Deschenes rapids on the Quebec side, or on both sides of the river?
Are there any reference books that I can access that can provide a historical perspective of native history and pre-history in
the Britannia area?
Note: Alexandre's line of inquiry is continued at our web page concerned with Archaeology in the Ottawa, Canada, area.
February 19, 2012:
New E-mail address for Susan Sirois included in the e-mail list below.
November 3, 2012:
ALGONQUIN ANISHINABEG ARTS, HERITAGE AND CULTURE
CULTURAL WORKSHOP AND TRAINING SESSION
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012, 9 am. to 4:30 pm.
At the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, 12 Stirling Avenue in Hintonburg, Ottawa
Come and learn about the First Nation Algonquin Anishinabeg communities on whose traditional land Ottawa was built!
Meet and engage with Chief Kirby Whiteduck, Pikwàkanagàn Algonquin First Nation (near Golden Lake) and Chief Gilbert Whiteduck,
Kitigan Zibi Algonquin Anishinabeg First Nation (near Maniwaki). Hear the stories of their people and learn about
their communities today.
Hear from and connect with representatives from the Omàmiwinini Pimàdjwowin (Algonquin Way Cultural Centre) at Pikwàkanagàn and
the Kitigan Zibi Cultural Centre.
o Performances of Algonquin song and drumming o Visual artists and their work
o Opening and closing ceremonies led by Elders from both communities
Deadline to register: November 9th (with light lunch) - November 13th (without light lunch)
Please use the Eventbrite web link to register - http://culturecafeottawa-anishnabeg.eventbrite.ca/
A very light, catered lunch (variety of sandwiches, veggie platters, drinks) will be provided at a cost of $8.41/person or
you can bring your own. Just select the appropriate option on the web link.
*Parking is LIMITED - OC Transpo Bus Routes include 2, 16, 18 and Transitway routes 95, 96, 97 to Tunney's Pasture
December 28, 2012:
Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty
which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water.
We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, and
protect Mother Earth. (1)
(1) The above text is a quotation from the Idle No More web site. Chief Theresa Spence from the Attawapiskat Reserve (map) is on day 17
of a hunger strike here in Ottawa at Victoria Island, within sight of the Canadian Parliament Buildings. She wants to meet face-to-face with
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Johnston. This issue is gaining importance in Ottawa, in Canada and globally.
January 5, 2013:
“Idle No More,” the independent movement that Ms. Spence has helped to promote, calls on Canada to “live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship.”
In the case of Attawapiskat, and the rest of Ontario's Cree First Nations, the treaty in question would be the 1905 James Bay Treaty, also known as
Treaty No. 9. The Attawapiskat Band of Cree — a versatile group of caribou- and goose-hunters, trappers, and fishers whose traditional roaming
grounds extended beyond the Attawapiskat River, over a large swathe of James Bay's northwestern shores and river systems — were brought
under the treaty in 1930. "Jonathan Kay, The National Post, January 3, 2013"
For more information see: Treaty No. 9, Making the Agreement to Share the Land in Far Northern Ontario in 1905,
by John S. Long, McGill-Queens University Press, ISBN 978-0-7735-3761-3
Jnuary 10, 2013:
See also our Thunder Bay district web page for some information on the Robinson Superior and Robinson Huron treaties in 1850. These treaties covered
large areas along the north shore of Lake Superior and Lake Huron. This land was originally occupied by the Obibway and Cree peoples. The web page
includes many surnames of Indigenous peoples who were enumerated in the 1881 Census of Canada.
January 20, 2013:
There is a very good article by Arthur J. Ray, "Fur-Trade History as an Aspect of Native History". This appears in the book
Aboriginal History: A Reader, edited by Kristin Burnett and Geoff Read, Oxford University Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-19-543325-0, pages 110-119.
January 26, 2013:
See a list of links to the Algonquin Nation Reserves in the Ottawa, Canada area.
February 19, 2013:
Thanks to Rudy who has sent along a link to the National Film Board film called The Invisible Nation -- a very poignant video.
Also from Rudy: "Here's a link to the Eagle Village First Nation web site that might be of interest to some".
The Eagle Village is inhabited by Algonquins at Kipawa, Quebec, northwest of Ottawa.
March 23, 2013:
I'm interested in the relationship between the Cree Nation and the Fur Trade in the James Bay area. This area is covered by Treaty Number 9 of 1905-06.
January 18, 2014:
In 1906, the artist Edmund Morris whose family had early ties to Perth, Ontario, was sent with the Department of Indian Affairs
to the James Bay area of northern Ontario. His role was to paint portraits of the Chiefs who signed Treaty Number 9 in 1906.
April 21 2014:
Ian White has taken photographs at the Odawa Pow Wow 2011 in Nepean Ontario.
April 10, 2015:
We are tracing the path of the First Nations Portage Trail from Lac Deschenes on the Ottawa River to Long Island on the Rideau River.
May 29, 2015:
Project Naming is an initiative by Library and Archives Canada here in Ottawa to try and identify thousands of photographs of Inuit persons.
July 19, 2015:
John HODGSON / HUDSON and Ann Unknown, his Country wife.
The above link shows an interesting case of early fur trade travels from Hudson Bay to the
Red River Settlement in Manitoba and then to the early fur trade posts along the Ottawa River at Fort Coulonge and
Portage du Fort. The Hudson Bay Company had a fur trade post at Fort Coulonge until about 1855.
July 21, 2015:
Source for the text below: THE OTTAWA RIVER ALGONQUIN BANDS IN A ST. LAWRENCE IROQUOIAN CONTEXT
by James F. Pendergast, 1999, in The Canadian Journal of Archaeology / Journal Canadien d'Archéologie, Vol. 23, No. 1/2,
pages 63-136. This paper is available at http://www.jstor.org.
First Nations and French Canadien Records from Lake of Two Mountain (Oka),
1721 to 1750, during the French Regime
September 26, 2015:
Jaime Koebel is the leader of a company called "Indigenous Walks" here in Ottawa. Yesterday she gave an interesting and
informative talk to the members of the Historical Society of Ottawa. She did a photo-walk (in lecture format) which
took us to many of the First Nations landmarks in downtown Ottawa.
Visit her web site at http://www.indigenouswalks.com.
December 2, 2015:
The Library and Archives Canada, Aboriginal web pages are at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/aboriginal-heritage/Pages/introduction.aspx
December 16, 2015:
I got your email from the bytown.net site, which I haven't explored in
depth but definitely already seen some good stuff there
I thought you would like to see this, an audio recording of a talk on the
history of the Ottawa River Watershed by researcher Peter Di Gangi of the
Algonquin Nation Secretariat
Please feel free to post/share as you see fit, as long as either linking
to original post and/or crediting EquitableEducation.ca
Note: The podcast by Peter Di Gangi of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat available on Greg's site is well worth listening to.
Download it to your tablet or 'phone and enjoy. Lots of very good First Nations history in our area.
February 16, 2016:
The Traditional Birch Bark Canoes built by First Nations peoples in Ontario and Quebec, Canada
October 16, 2016:
My name is Richard Henderson. I am a 4x G-Grandson of Philemon Wright, through his son Phil Jr. (as the family called him)
and Sally, through Erexina (their daughter) and Andrew Leamy. I am author of the book
Walking in the Footsteps of Philemon Wright, a book which results from a lifetime of hearing family
stories and 20 + years of research.
(Note: Mr. Henderson's book is now in its second printing and will be available soon ... Al)
I was drawn to research the family history for many reasons but one great motivator was that I wanted to see if I could
find some reconciliation of the differences I found in the many accounts and histories written about Wright's settlement -
some of which distort things through their political or modern perspectives - and the family history.
One such distortion concerns the name of the Gatineau River, as described in the first paragraph of your page (http://www.bytown.net/gatineau.htm?). Your page gives only one of the two accounts of the origins of its name and it is -
probably because of the QC govt.'s account from its own toponymie commission - a distinctly Euro-centric explanation
that puts the greatest weight on the story that the river derives its name from the trapper son of a man named
Nicholas Gastineau (note the spelling).
There are so many problems, though, with accepting this story as the origin of the name:
1. The man and his sons were named Gastineau, NOT Gatineau.
2. Nicholas Gastineau had 3 sons, one of which was named Nicholas. The river was certainly not named after
the father who had absolutely nothing to do with the river, so one must ask why Nicholas, just one of the
3 trapper sons, lends his name to the River & the City ? Except for a legend that Nicholas drowned in the River,
there are no other accounts to substantiate his importance nor differentiate him from his brothers.
3. It is from an account by Raymond Douville, a 20th century historian from Trois-Rivieres, that we get the
story that people began to call it "la riviere a Gastineau" during the 18th century, because, he writes, the 3
Gastineau brothers MAY have had a fur trading post or relay station in an area near the mouth of the river.
4. The Gastineau brothers left absolutely nothing of note to attach their names to the area; no buildings, no descendants.
5. The name Gatineau (or Gastineau) does not appear on any maps of the area before the 19th century. The only name given
to the river before Wright's settlement is found in a 1783 report by a Col. Jones and that name is 'Lettinoe'.
The second account, however, has to do with a real name given to the river, a name that was uttered by human lips for
centuries, perhaps for millennia; a name that would have been spoken to the explorers passing through and the settlers
who stayed. The name is Te Nagadeno Zibi, translated from Algonquin, it is 'The river that stops (ones journey)'.
The name is, of course, a phonetic English spelling of an Algonquin word. It is known that the English phonetic spellings
approach the sounds used in most Aboriginal languages but are not identical. For instance, phonetic spellings often use
either the G and K, interchangeably, because they both approximate the actual sound. In other words, the explorers
could hear Te Nagadeno Zibi or Deyna Gatino Sipi or any combination thereof. The word Zibi or Sipi means 'River' in
English. So, at its root, the name given to the river by the Algonquin people was Gatino. Undoubtedly, that is the name
(written Gatteno, Gateno and Gatino) used by Philemon Wright and later by Colonel By in their own handwritten accounts,
reports and maps. Local historian, Raymond Ouimet, has written extensively about this second account.
We read in the first-hand account of Wright, himself, and the account from his Granddaughter, Bertha (Hannah) Wright
Carr-Harris, that the first people that Wright encountered in the area were, of course, natives. He no doubt heard
the names of rivers from the local natives, in their own language, from their lips: Kitchi Zibi (the Grand River),
Te Nagadeno Zibi and Pasapkedjinawong (The River that passes between the rocks; Champlain called it the Rideau).
My own take on how the river goes from Gatteno, as both Wright and Colonel By knew it, to Gatineau, is that the French
spelling was adopted as more and more documents, reports and maps were produced by officials in Lower Canada; just as,
today, you can only find Outaouais and Rideau used in French Quebec, despite the fact that there are names far older
than those that are attached to those two rivers.
Now, I understand that places adopt the names that settlers or majority populations choose but at least, we still
remember all of the names, using them in other places and including them in our history. Names like Kitchesippi,
Grand River, Asticou, Quyon are all names we know and still can see in the area. It's important that we get the
history right, and endeavor to have the complete history of our home and not just one piece; not just a questionable
history, based more on chauvinism than fact, that may serve only to satisfy the imperatives of a dominant culture.
Please feel free to post this on your site if you wish (you may remove the biographic data from the 1st two paragraphs).
E-mail Lisa, Ellen Paul, Susan Sirois, Stephen McGregor, Jean-Claude Dubé, Roger Flansberry, Taylor Kennedy, Alexandre Moricz, Rudy, Rick Henderson and Al Lewis
Back to Bytown or Bust - History and Genealogy in the Ottawa area