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French River Pictograph Project

We are pleased to be working with the French River Visitors Centre Aboriginal Advisory Group as they work on a historic and culturally important project we have dubbed “the Pictograph Project”. For details on the project and how you can support it please read the following;

Pictographs are ancient rock paintings that were created by the ancestors of our current First Nations. They are located in many areas across Canada particularly on well travelled canoe routes. The French River area is no exception. It is home to many pictograph sites some of which are well known, others of which are known only to the First Nations.  Pictured below is Shawanaga elder Marilyn Capreol visiting a pictograph in the area.

 

Pictographs tend to be on rock faces that are accessed by canoe and are painted in red ochre. First Nation people treat Pictograph sites with great reverence. The fact that they have endured the elements over the millenniums is extraordinary. Unfortunately some of the paintings have started to fade and some have been vandalized by ignorant individuals.

French River Visitors Centre First Nation and Aboriginal Advisory Council are proposing a project involving elders and youth to document the many pictographs in the French River area. They plan to employ a few young First Nation artists to recreate the various pictographs on slabs of stone (retrieved from the highway 400 widening project) and display these at the French River Visitors Centre. Not only will this provide a permanent record of the Pictographs but it will provide an opportunity to educate the public about Pictographs and hopefully encourage people to either not try to find the original sites or to at least respect them.

This project needed some seed funding in order to start. The GBA agreed to help our First Nation friends, and raised the $7,000 needed to get this worthy endeavour going.

Donations were directed to the French River Park and placed in their Special Projects fund for distribution. Donor recognition plaques will be placed in the Visitors Centre.

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