Great Lakes Canoe Journey Build – Sylvia Plain

The Great Lakes Canoe Journey teamed up with the Nogojiwanong Youth Solidarity Initiative in Peterborough, Ontario to build a birch bark canoe with local First Nations and Immigrant youth in the traditional territories of the Michi Sagiig peoples.

Most of the harvesting took place in the traditional territories of Waswagoning tribe in Wisconsin, also known as Lac du Flambeau. Spruce roots were harvested in upper Michigan and the cedar was harvested in the traditional territories of Hiawatha First Nation. The build was completed in mid-December and launched in the water following a community feast and honouring ceremony.

Non-Indigenous, new Canadian students and community members that collaborated were additionally able to learn about Anishinaabe history, harvesting practices, and canoe-building. Through the exchange of knowledge and food, new cultural understandings were reached.

This birch bark canoe is the first canoe that the Great Lakes Canoe Journey will keep so that they can program and take journeys with it. They are also producing a video to inspire audiences to get out on the land and learn from some of our oldest and greatest teachers, while building meaningful and respectful relationships with their neighbours and the territories in which they live.