New website will tell the story of Indigenous Peoples in this area

BAYFIELD – A new website under construction by the Bayfield Historical Society and Archives will do far more than recreate a timeline of First Nations people from the Ice Age to settlement of the Huron Tract to present day, predicts researcher and writer Jordan George.

“It’s going to benefit people because they’re going to learn about the history, and the present-day too,” said George, who has spent the past two months immersed in researching and sometimes transcribing documents, history books, treaties and agreements for the website, A Brief History of Indigenous People in Huron County Prior to European Settlement, which is expected to launch by September.

“When it gets to the end it’s really going to tie it nicely to the meaning, the impact, of the treaties and of the sacred connection to today; the interactions between First Nations people and non-First Nations people to protect the waters and be aware of what’s going on in the lands, and to find comfort in talking about collaborative learning,” he said.

The site will outline the activities of Indigenous Peoples along the eastern shore of Lake Huron from Paleoindians to the developments of the Algonquian peoples from the northwest and the Iroquoian groups from the east.  The site will describe the social structures of these various First Nations along with their seasonal activities of hunting, fishing, maple sugaring, and agriculture.  Ending with notes on the first contact with European explorers, the web site will illuminate the continuing importance of Indigenous culture in the 21st Century.

“The audience is the people of Huron County in Southwestern Ontario, youth and elders, native and non-native,” George said. He expects to make a number of public presentations on the project shortly after its launch.

George, who lives and is from Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, has a bachelor of arts (BA) from Western University and will be returning in September to pursue a teaching degree. He has taught Ojibwe and is interested in language revitalization.

Funding for this project was provided by Michael and Stephanie McDonald. It is being overseen by Ralph Blasting, of Bayfield, a retired professor of theatre history, Towson University, Maryland.

Community Futures Huron is a proud partner of the Bayfield Historical Society and Archives.

A footnote from Jordan George:

I would like to thank the whole Bayfield Historical Society, especially Ruth, Godfrey and Ralph for visiting me in Kettle and Stony Point where we toured important local historical sites. I also want to recognize the important dialectic project consultant/supervisor Ralph Blasting and I have been engaged in through our weekly meetings which will continue until we launch. The discussions and review work Ralph and I do each week has been indispensable to this project. Thanks Heather Boa for this nice article. I also want to thank Stephanie and Michael McDonald for their generous contribution without which this project would not have been possible…And I look forward to meeting you and thanking you personally when we are done .. I am very hopeful that the work I am doing with such excellent collaboration will be useful to Bayfield and Huron County. Gitchii mIigwetch to all these good folks. I cannot wait to share my perspective in August and to release some good content for the website, in the hope that my  work is effective where needed.

Photo of man in his office
Researcher and writer Jordan George is immersed in a project that will illuminate the continuing importance of Indigenous culture in the 21st Century.

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