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Photo by Sweetmoon Photography. It is by water that my ancestors, the Anishinabeg, inhabited this place. Controversy dominates the story of our origins. Place names suggest that the Anishinabeg originated here—or at least seventy kilometres northwest at Manitou Ahbee Where the Creator Sits. It is likely that Gitchie Manitou the Great Creator envisaged humans there. First Man, perhaps travelling by foot, made his way to Lake of the Woods, where he learned to fish, to trap, and to harvest manomin wild rice.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Indigenous Peoples have occupied Lake of the Woods since approximately 8,—7, BCEhaving followed the retreat of the Wisconsin glacier.

Edward Benton-Banai, an Anishinaabe cultural educator, suggests that my ancestors moved in search of manomin. Manomin is a complex carbohydrate that flourished locally before the postwar boom in dam construction. The Kenora Centennial Committee also suggests that the Anishinabeg migrated to Lake of the Woods, but unlike Benton-Banai the committee does not date this migration. Other authors suggest that the Haudenosaunee Confederacy pushed the Anishinabeg northward during the Beaver Wars.

Each of these otherwise conflicting origin stories reveals that the Anishinabeg lived by and relied on the water. By the s, my paternal ancestors—associated with what is now known as Dalles 38C Indian Reserve—occupied a territory that extended roughly from Rough Rock Lake near present-day Minaki, Ontario in the north to Muskeg Bay near present-day Warroad, Minnesota in the south.

It is unclear during which years the Ojibway who form part of the Anishinaabe Nation occupied this territory. By sharing an Anishinaabe perspective on hydroelectric development, Dammed challenges popular s of Canadian life after Canadians are often taught that the federal government took an increasing interest in economic development and social welfare in the postwar era, improving the working and living standards of many.

This book is a stark reminder that the benefits of large-scale infrastructure projects and their environmental impacts were and are divided inequitably in Canada. The dividing line was and is highly racialized. For example, I was told stories about Chief Kawitaskung my paternal great-great-great-great grandfather, c.

We believe that pike tastes the best when the water is cold and its flesh is firm. His wife, Jane Lindsay birthdate unknown—c. Ogimaamaashiik roasted egg sacs from sturgeon like sausages and simmered whitefish bouillon. Times changed. Ogimaamaashiik became known as Matilda Martin. But fish remained an essential component of our family diet. My dad, Allan Luby Ogemahled American tourists to prime fishing locations on the Winnipeg River in exchange for spending money. Later, wearing goggles, he plumbed the depths of the river, searching for lost fishing tackle to incorporate into his own collection while continuing to fish for home consumption.

Although fish provided sustenance for generations of Anishinaabe families, including my own, physicians working in and around Kenora had recommended that Anishinaabe families not consume fish caught on the Winnipeg River years before my birth Hydroelectric damming between and likely contributed to the increased mercury content of family meals.

Anishinaabe families relied on more than fish.

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Anishinaabe families defined their territorial boundaries, in part, by manomin growth. Where there was manomin, there were Anishinabeg to harvest it. This was true for many generations. Ogimaamaashiik believed that manomin provided her people with enough energy to carry out their day-to-day activities.

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Manomin fuelled trappers—such as her grandfather Kawitaskung—as they hunted for food and furs. She taught her daughter Hazel Martin-McKeever b. Experience revealed that water begat water. Family records of what the Anishinabeg ate and how they healed reveal that Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River were at the heart of Anishinaabe household economies.

Today I purchase manomin in small quantities from the grocery store. The collapse of household economies experienced by the Anishinabeg is part of the story of twentieth-century colonization and industrialization in Canada. Natural resources in the Winnipeg River drainage basin drew settlers.

But the Anishinabeg and the company did not compete for water resources—there were more than enough resources to share. Loggers and gold miners followed.

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Unlike the trappers and the traders, these newcomers drew water from Lake of the Woods for industrial use. The sharing of water resources with the Anishinabeg was soon to change. John Kelly of Treaty 3 territory posits that resource sharing decreased sharply in the s.

To explain the inequitable division of resources, Kelly employs an analogy of a white man and an Indigenous man sitting on a log. But the White Man felt like stretching himself and asked for a little more room. The Indian let him have a little more of his log. This analogy resonates strongly on Lake of the Woods: inJohn Mather oversaw the construction of the sawmill for the Keewatin Lumbering and Manufacturing Company KLMestablishing the first sawmill on the north shore.

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Byseven large sawmills were operating near Kenora. Lumbering became the primary industry for settler-colonists on Lake of the Woods. To fuel additional development, lumber barons such as Mather sought water power.

According to some estimates, the dam raised the level of the lake by 0. When Mather dammed the western outlet, he blocked an artery in the Winnipeg River drainage basin.

Flow patterns changed. And, when they changed, Anishinaabe labour practices and household economies—based on and around Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River—also changed. Dammed tells the story of how Anishinaabe families adapted to industrial water fluctuations and their cascading effects, from the ing of Treaty 3 in to the s, a difficult decade in Anishinaabe history.

It tells of how the Anishinabeg, having forged a land-sharing agreement with the Crown, continued to use Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River as in years past—to fish, to harvest manomin, and to travel. Register here! Brittany Luby is an award-winning historian at the University of Guelph. Her writing—both academic and creative—is intended to draw attention to social inequities in what is now known as Canada and to empower readers to envision alternate futures.

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View books by Brittany Luby. Posted in Author PostsExcerpt. Tagged anishinaabecommunityhistoryindigenouslake of the woodsontarioraiseupupweek. Mary Riter Hamilton honoured for Remembrance Day ». University of Manitoba Press St. Privacy Policy Top of .

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