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Anishinaabe students dig into their past

August 13, 2018
CBC News

For a handful of summer students at the National Capital Commission, Quebec’s Archeology Month is more than a neat opportunity to dig for hidden artifacts.

It’s also a way to connect with their own culture and history.

Each August the NCC invites people from across the region to grab a trowel and help scrape away the clay covering artifacts that were lost for decades, even centuries.

This year, four Anishinaabe students are working with the NCC’s heritage department alongside archeologist Ian Badgley and university students from l’Université du Québec en Outaouais and Carleton University.

“I’m finding a bunch of stuff,” said 16-year-old Joshua Odjick as he fished an arrowhead out of the pocket of his jeans Wednesday.

“I felt like I was getting my culture back, my heritage.”

Traditional gathering place

Odjick recently graduated from high school at Kitigan Zibi Kikinamadinan in Maniwaki, Que., and will be going to Heritage College in Gatineau in the fall.

He said this work made him wonder what it would have been like hundreds of years ago, when the area that’s now Lac Leamy Park was a gathering place and trading post for Indigenous people.

“I think about what they were doing at the moment, what they were talking about,” he said.

“They were pros at this. They’d make [an arrowhead] in 20 minutes, and for me it’d take a couple hours. I’d probably screw up a few times,” he said.

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