Birch Bark Canoe Build – Lake Opeongo
A CELEBRATION OF THE ALGONQUIN CANOE
OMAMIWININI WIIGAS CHIIMAN
Event: Live building of a traditional Algonquin Birch Bark Canoe in two – 1-week phases at Lake Of Two rivers and Lake Opeongo.
Build Team: Chuck Commanda & Christine Luckasavitch as lead Cultural Consultant for the project.
Week 1 Dates: AUG 15th until Friday, AUG 19th 2022 (1-hour ceremony AUG 15 at 9 am to smudge surroundings)
Week 2 Dates: MON AUG 22nd until Friday, AUG 26 2022 (if required – extra days until AUG 28th)
The finished canoe will permanently remain on display at Opeongo Lake for public display in Algonquin Park.
Daily Work Hours: 9 am – 3 pm (approx.)
This summer, we are beyond privileged and honoured to partner with master Algonquin birchbark canoe builder Chuck Command to host a LIVE birchbark canoe build at our Lake of Two Rivers and Opeongo Lake locations in Algonquin Park.
Our hope is that the project will firstly invite, re-patriate and reconnect the Algonquin Community in and around the park region while bringing awareness to this sacred Algonquin community tradition, and secondly, welcome all park visitors to experience and learn about this tradition directly from Chuck while he lives out a long-time dream of building a birchbark canoe in Algonquin Park for the first time.
This two-week event is open to all visitors to Algonquin Park, and all are welcome to join the canoe build to learn more about the Algonquin birch bark canoe, the history of the Algonquin people, the significance of the canoe in our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and to lend a helping hand in crafting the canoe.
Upon completion, the Algonquin-built birch bark canoe will hold a prevalent space in Algonquin Park and remain on display at Algonquin Outfitters Opeongo Lake Store. This canoe will represent respect for the Algonquin people and their ingenuity, as well as acknowledging and appreciating our shared respect for the canoe.
According to Rich Swift, owner of Algonquin Outfitters, “This project represents an amazing community project that will help to educate visitors to Algonquin Park not only about the long history of the canoe, but also the rich history of the Algonquin people in this region.”
Please complete the following short survey:
Master Algonquin Canoe Builder
Chuck Commanda is a master birch bark canoe builder from the community of Kitigan Zibi, Quebec.
He has been building canoes since he was a child, under the guidance of his highly respected grandparents, Mary and William Commanda. He has spent more than 10 years building canoes in the traditional Algonquin style as well as teaching canoe building, birch bark basket-making and snowshoe-making workshops to Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, youth, and adults. Commanda’s work produces beautiful pieces of art of incredible cultural, functional and artistic value that embody the use of cultural practices to transmit Indigenous knowledge among peoples and between generations in the spirit of reconciliation and Indigenous community revitalization.
Christine Luckasavitch is an Omàmìwininì Madaoueskarini Anishinaabekwe (a woman of the Madawaska River Algonquin people), belonging to the Crane Clan, and mixed settler heritage. Christine continues to live in her ancestral territory, much of which is now known as Algonquin Park, Ontario.
Christine is the Owner/Executive Consultant of Waaseyaa Consulting and Waaseyaa Cultural Tours, two small businesses dedicated to reviving and celebrating Indigenous ancestral knowledge and culture-based practices through educational opportunities.
Rich Swift & the Swift Family
It has been a long-time dream of owner Rich Swift and his family to celebrate and honour a traditional Algonquin birchbark canoe build in Algonquin Park lands. Our entire team is privileged and excited to be able to host master Algonquin canoe Chuck Commanda at both our Lake f Two Rivers & Opeongo Lake locations. The completed 14ft canoe will remain on display at the Opeongo Lake location to educate and respect the origins of the Algonquin communities’ traditions, lands and people.
Supporting Affiliates and Project Contributors:
We would like to thank these important groups for donating their time, efforts and resources in assisting Chuck and the project partners in sourcing root wood, accessing the forest, assisting with accommodations and project promotion.