Inaugurating the Mural at Chief Pinesi’s Portage: Additional Information

September 28, 2022

mural in progress

A spectacular Algonquin mural will be permanently displayed along Chief Pinesi’s Portage! This new artwork is mounted on the West-facing wall of the New Edinburgh Fieldhouse, in New Edinburgh Park (203 Stanley Avenue, Ottawa).

The mural is mixed-media (mosaic and painting), created by a mother / daughter pairing of superb Algonquin Artists from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg.

Miskwi Bloodline (mosaic)

Artist: Doreen Stevens (biography)
Technical Advisor: Conrad Stevens
Labourer: Ted Cash

Miskwi  means Bloodline, identifying several Algonquin lineages, particularly the ancestral lineages of Pinesi, the Partridge, and Kiskanakwad, Broken Cloud. While in the sky Pinesi is the Thunderbird, Kishkanakwad are the Broken Clouds after the storm. The Water Panther, Mishipeshu, represents the Rideau Rapids hidden by the dam at the Falls. It also brings back the Pijiw/Lynx family name. Therefore, the mural partly represents the recovery of original Algonquin family names, many of which have been changed to British or French names.

Gathering Phases (painting)

Artist: Charlotte Aki Stevens (biography)

Gathering Phases portrays all the stages of life in general, as the upper mural does, and peoples’ lives, in particular. It shows people meeting and gathering, and their intention to be together living in nature.

Jean-Luc Pilon (former Curator of Ontario Archaeology, Canadian Museum of History) will speak on research that confirms the existence and likely path of an ancient portage trail around Rideau Falls, connecting the Ottawa River and the Rideau River.

Following these presentations, we offer guided walks that reflect nearly 8,000 years of Algonquin presence in Ottawa. Featuring indigenous vegetation and ethnographic knowledge, Derek Cushing and Owen Clarkin will showcase traditional knowledge of native plant species found along the route, and their uses for medicine, food, and material. These walks follow the Rideau River from New Edinburgh Fieldhouse to Rideau Falls.

Derek Cushing grew up in the country, raised to revere animals and the land, and he’s currently working for a private school centred on environmental education. He mainly applies experiential education using outdoor activities, conducts wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, and recently studied social science and environmental issues at Carleton University.

Owen Clarkin has had a strong interest in Nature since childhood, and he’s the current Vice-President and Chair of Conservation for the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club. His main expertise is in the realm of the natural history of woody plants. In recent years he’s led some conservation-related projects such as mapping the range of Red Spruce in Eastern Ontario and the range of a new invasive insect Elm Zigzag Sawfly.