Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Honouring Ancestral Spirits of the Anishinaabeg

@ Agawa Rock, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario, CANADA

Compiled by © John Wanserski
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One of the most famous pictograph sites in Canada is found in Agawa Bay, within Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario. The site's name in Ojibway is Mazinaubikiniguning, which means "the adorned rock on Agawa Lake." The site was discovered by Selwyn Dewdney in 1958, although it had already been reported by the ethnologist Henry Schoolcraft. The latter had also received the interpretation of the paintings at the beginning of the 19th century, although he never actually saw them. It was while carrying out surveys of First Nation populations around Sault Ste Marie that Schoolcraft met Shingwaukonce, who drew for him on birch bark the painted figures as he remembered them.

Some of the rock paintings are at least 1500 years old, while others may only date back to the 1800s. The Ojibway people believed that spirits concentrated in the rock outcroppings of the Lake Superior shore, which belonged to the mysterious domain of the powerful Ojibway sea monster Mishipizheu (also known as the Great Horned Lynx). The first printed reference to the Agawa pictographs occurred in ethnographer Henry Schoolcraft's 1851 study "The American Indians. Their History, Condition and Prospects." The pictographs, recount the daring crossing of eastern Lake Superior by a fleet of war canoes, led by the warrior and medicine man Myeengun, with the blessing of Mishipizheu.
The Agawa Bay pictograph site was one of the important inspirations to Norval Morrisseau.

>>> Related links:
- Lake Superior Provincial Park,
- Agawa Pictograph Site,
- Ojibway History,
- Henry Schoolcraft's personal memoirs,
- History of Lake Superior Timeline,
- Selwyn Dewdney about Norval Morrisseau.
* "You Tube" presentation

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