About Quetico Park - Native Pictographs
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The greatest concentration of aboriginal rock paintings in eastern North
America occurs between Lake Superior and the Manitoba border and in and
around Quetico Park. Scattered throughout the Park are 28 known pictograph
sites, often associated with impressive cliff faces. Usually less than 30
centimetres in size, the pictrographs are reddish in colour because of the
pigment, red ochre, a soft oxide of iron.
A variety of figures including humans, canoes, moose, caribou, bears,
turtles and abstract symbols can be seen. Although their age is unknown,
it seems reasonable to think that most were done within the last 500 years.
Acids from the oils of human fingers are one of the factors contributing
to the fading of many of these images.
Many of the Anishnabe at Lac La Croix regard the pictographs and the sites
where they are found as sacred. There is Great Spirit in the rock and the
meaning of each pictograph often relates to that Spirit. The pictographs
represent an intriguing and integral facet of the rich culture of the
Park's first people. In respect for the beliefs and traditions of the
Anishnabe, you may choose to leave a small gift of tobacco, sage, or cedar
sprinkled on the water below the pictograph.
The Quetico Foundation has established a working relationship with the Lac La Croix First Nation related to the protection and stewardship of the wilderness values of Quetico Park. The Foundation has provided financial assistance to the Lac La Croix First Nation to develop an ecotourism program consistent with the Quetico Provincial Park Management Plan, offers the Shan Walshe Memorial Bursary to qualifying high school graduates and also hires high school students for the Summer Student Research Program. In respect of the values and beliefs of the Elders of Lac La Croix First Nation related to the sacred nature of native pictographs, The Quetico Foundation has agreed to remove all photographic images of the pictographs from our Web site. In addition, as Foundation publications such as our Canoe Routes Map and brochure are updated and reprinted pictograph photographs will be removed.
The Quetico Park Satellite Map (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and The Quetico Foundation, 1999);
S. Dewdney and K. Kidd, Indian Rock Paintings of the Great Lakes (The Quetico Foundation, 1962).
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