This is Great Spirit Country
A sacred journey from east to west from time immemorial.
A meeting place and a place of ideas and perspectives.
A spirit of survival and resilience.
The Mayans once said that the state of the Land is reflected in the state of the Mind and that the state of the Mind is reflected in the state of the Land. The physical landscape and resources is a foundation for how people live just as our attitudes and practices mark the landscape. Changes in the natural landscape may guide us to the changes in evolution; expression; perception; and our collective culture.
The Land Between has a rich cultural heritage. Vanished Villages, remnants of battles and travels, cedar rail fences, cemeteries, roads and trails, buildings, and above all, stories, are all scattered amidst this rolling topography. The First Nations people used it as key east-west corridor; trails over land and travel over water, especially through the large rivers and the channels of the Trent Severn Waterway, are how the landscape has always been explored. Chert for making tools and artefacts was abundant here. The land, being open, supported hunting, and being strewn with waterways and lakes held an ancient fishing economy. Here, the American Eel, now extirpated, was within its northernmost range limit, and was a plentiful resource providing both food and tools.
The Land Between is a meeting place of species, regions — and Nations. The Haudenashaunee from the south and west and the Mississauga both occupied and honored their responsibilities in this landscape from time immemorial. The Creator gave each Nation responsibilities to look after the land: the Anishnaabeg were given the responsibility to look after the water and rock, while the Haudenashaunee were charged with looking after the soil and trees. It has been said by Elders that to live here was to know two worlds; that people were smarter and richer for it, as species and medicines that were lacking or in seasonal decline in one region would have an equal counterpart in the other. This is a meeting place of peoples, medicines and species: the moose and deer, the blueberry and strawberry, the jack pine and white oak. Pictographs and petroglyphs are living testimonies to the relationships with this landscape over centuries and which sacred sites are still visited and honored today. Many of the names for lakes and landscape features are Ojibwa and their meanings are a demonstration of the relationships and understandings that First Nations have and have had with this land. Traditional territories are still honored and stewarded by First Nations despite the clustering of peoples on Reserves. Today, First Nations still honor their ways of sharing and provide invaluable resources and knowledge to their new European neighbours, and which knowledge is fundamental and essential to natural resource management and landscape planning. To visit a Reserve or contact a First Nation cultural centre in The Land Between see the Ontario First Nations Map. To learn about the peoples, covenants and treaties that are the foundation and heritage of this landscape see Treaties
The first European to make his way across this landscape was Champlain. Lead by Mississauga leaders, the early maps and accounts suggest his route from the Ottawa River through Paudash Lake and south to the Black River towards Lake Huron. Lack of agricultural opportunities left abandoned villages, but persevering and creative peoples to occupy the landscape. As a growing appreciation of the splendour of the region grew, it became a recreational destination. As new roads grew, so did a new interest in the landscape as one that supported recreation and pleasure — the use of the canoe, summer camps, resorts, cottaging, guiding, lead to a new way of relating to and appreciating the landscape. The Land Between today is also a meeting place of modern cultures; of the urban and the rural; the hunter and the corporate leader.
Read about sacred sites and archaeology in the Ontario Archaeological Society’s latest newsletter:Strata Winter 2014 Vol 4 No 4
Read about the significance of this landscape: The Sacred Omnipresent- A Journey Through The Land Between
Archaeological, cultural and anthropological studies, chronicles and research are posted on our Science and Discoveries page