Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Tuesdays for Travis - Bon Echo Provincial Park

[1] This great park is half way between Kingston and Ottawa, Ontario.

Long a favourite destination for painters and photographers, this park north of Napanee is renowned for Mazinaw Rock. This 1.5-kilometre sheer rock face rises 100 metres above Mazinaw Lake, one of the deepest lakes in Ontario, and features over 260 native pictographs – the largest visible collection in Canada.

[2] The pictographs include pre-17th c. depictions of Nanabush (rabbit-eared Ojibwe mythical character) painted by Algonquian locals.

The Nanabush, also known as the Trickster, who is half spirit and half human. He is creator and spoiler, hero and clown, capable of noble deeds and gross self-indulgence. He is unpredictable, one minute inspiring awe for his creativity, the next moment provoking laughter at his foolishness.

In one story of many, Nanabush convinces all the animals that he has a new song to teach them. But in order to learn the song all the animals must sit with their backs to Nanabush. While Nanabush is singing, Owl peeks and sees what Nanabush is really doing. Owl's warning causes all the animals to flee. Rabbit is still caught in Nanabush's grip. In all the excitement, Nanabush pulls on Rabbit's ears and feet. The result is a new shape for Rabbit. Both his ears and feet are long.**

Most of the pictographs on Mazinaw (which means "painted") rock represent a result of a vision quest, ceremony or acknowledgments of spiritual assistance. As no native groups have claimed these paintings, it has been difficult to determine their meanings.

For fishing enthusiasts, lake trout, yellow pickerel, small and large mouth bass, lake whitefish and northern pike are here.

[3] Due to its location, Bon Echo offers a unique chance to see species typical of both northern and southern Ontario, such as deer, moose (photo), black bear, red fox and beaver.

Sources: greatcanadianrivers.com, ontarioparks.com
**Nanabush and the Rabbit as described by Dan King.

Photo credits: [1]-Reiver CC=nc-flickr, [2]-Goldring CC=flickr, [3]-ZaNiaC CC=nc-nd-flickr.


Charles Gramlich said...

This makes me want to go fishing so badly.

Barbara Martin said...

Charles, I suppose I should actually do a post about fishing, rather than spouting off about pictographs and Objwe legends.

BernardL said...

The pictographs make me wonder about a concoction of paint able to last over the centuries.

Shelley Munro said...

Beautiful photos, Barbara. I loved the tale about the rabbit. :)

Barbara Martin said...

Bernard, these paintings are considered to be no more than 600 years old. This makes me think about the prehistoric cave paintings found in Europe which are from 13,000 B.C. or older. I found this interesting site which may be of interest to you or others: http://www.donsmaps.com/cavepaintings.html

Shelley, many of the First Nations people are beginning to tell their cultural tales of how the world began, and how the Rabbit got its long ears and hind feet is only the tip of the iceberg.

Travis Erwin said...

The pictographs are awesome.

Barbara Martin said...

Travis, I considered they might have been painted when the water levels were lower, but we will never know for certain.