Long before first contact with Europeans, Indigenous people had a name for this landbase, Kitche Zibi or Great River. Today this river is called the Ottawa River. There were four directions that people came here to gather for ceremony and trade, east and west and south by way of the present day Gatineau river and north by way of the Rideau river. This landbase was never surrendered by the Aboriginal people who lived here at the time of European contact and is still considered unceded Algonquin territory. Peace and Friendship Treaties were struck whereby the Europeans agreed to live in harmony with the original people and respect their traditional hunting territories of the present day Capital region.

Learn more about the rich history of this land now called Ottawa, inside our Odawa  Pavilion. We showcase our Algonquin Living History – through Interactive exhibits such as birch bark displays of the making of a wigwam, a birchbark canoe and baskets with traditional master craftsman Pinook (Daniel Smith) who will share how all of the natural materials surrounding us, form birch bark to spruce roots and gum were used to create the tools for survival, and later shared with Europeans upon their arrival.

Algonquin Paddle Art Activity
The Algonquin concept of “Mamawi” or together is explored through this interactive painted paddle exhibit. Elder’s teach that the paddle and the canoe are partners, they go together. The public will be able to paint 150 paddles using Algonquin symbols. One animal, the beaver, for example has a paddle built right in to its make-up and this animal was inspiration to Aboriginal people long ago for this most important tool of trade. As well younger children will create their own Algonquin inspired designs on colouring book sheets. This activity will be lead by Algonquin master visual artist, Simon Brascoupe.

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