Manitoulin Island

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Manitoulin
Manitoulin Island.jpg
Satellite image of Manitoulin Island.
Map of Ontario MANITOULIN.svg
Geography
Location Lake Huron
Coordinates 45°46′N 82°12′W / 45.767°N 82.200°W / 45.767; -82.200Coordinates: 45°46′N 82°12′W / 45.767°N 82.200°W / 45.767; -82.200
Area 2,766 km2 (1,068 sq mi)
Country
Canada
Province  Ontario
District Manitoulin District
Largest city Little Current
Demographics
Population 12,600 (as of 2012)
Density 4.56 /km2 (11.81 /sq mi)

Manitoulin Island /ˌmænɨˈtlɨn/ is a Canadian lake island in Lake Huron, in the province of Ontario. It is the largest freshwater lake island in the world.[1] In addition to the historic Anishinaabe and European settlement of the island, archeological discoveries at Sheguiandah have demonstrated Paleo-Indian and Archaic cultures dating from 10,000 BC to 2000 BC.[2] The name of the island is the English version, via French, of the old Odawa name "Manidoowaaling",[3] which means "cave of the spirit", named for an underwater cave where a powerful spirit dwells. By the 19th century the Odawa "l" was pronounced as "n". The same word with a newer pronunciation is used for the town Manitowaning (19th century Odawa "Manidoowaaning"), which is located on Manitoulin Island near the underwater cave where the spirit dwells. The modern Odawa name for Manitoulin Island is Mnidoo Mnis[4] (Spirit Island).

Manitoulin Island contains a number of lakes of its own. In order of size, its three most prominent lakes are Lake Manitou, Lake Kegawong and Lake Mindemoya. Each of these three lakes in turn have islands within them, the largest of these being Lake Mindemoya's 82 acre Treasure Island, located in the centre of Manitoulin.

Geography and geology[edit]

Manitoulin Island location in the Great Lakes

The island has an area of 2,766 km2 (1,068 sq mi), making it the 172nd largest island in the world and Canada's 31st largest island.

The island separates the larger part of Lake Huron to its south and west from Georgian Bay to its east and the North Channel to the north.

Manitoulin Island itself has 108 freshwater lakes, some of which have their own islands; in turn several of these "islands within islands" have their own ponds. Lake Manitou (about 104 km2 - 40.5 sq. mi.) is the largest lake in a freshwater island in the world,[5] and Treasure Island in Lake Mindemoya is the largest island in a lake on an island in a lake in the world.[5] Nameless Lake is the island's only no-motor lake.

The island also has four major rivers: the Kagawong, Manitou River, Blue Jay Creek in Michael's Bay and Mindemoya Rivers, which provide spawning grounds for salmon and trout.

The Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association was formed in 2000 and incorporated in 2007. The organization rehabilitates streams, rivers and creeks on Manitoulin Island for the sake of water quality and the fisheries resource. The Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association has conducted enhancement strategies for the Manitou River and Blue Jay Creek. The association has rehabilitated 17 major sites on the Manitou River and three major sites on Blue Jay Creek and have completed work on Bass Lake Creek and Norton's Creek. The organization plans to start work on the Mindemoya River in 2010.

Although culturally and politically considered part of Northern Ontario, the island is physiographically part of Southern Ontario, an "eastward extension of the Interior Plains, a region characterized by low relief and sedimentary underpinnings". The island consists mainly of dolomite as it is a continuation of the Bruce Peninsula and Niagara Escarpment. This geological rock formation runs south into Niagara Falls and continues into New York. The "Cup and Saucer Trail", which climbs the escarpment, provides a spectacular lookout over the island.

Culture[edit]

The island has two incorporated towns (Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands and Gore Bay), eight townships (Assiginack, Billings, Burpee and Mills, Central Manitoulin, Dawson, Gordon/Barrie Island, Robinson and Tehkummah) and six Anishinaabe reserves (M'Chigeeng, Sheguiandah, Sheshegwaning, Aundeck Omni Kaning, Wikwemikong and Zhiibaahaasing.)

Cup and Saucer Hiking Trail.

During the summer, the population (12,600 permanent residents) on the island grows by more than a quarter due to the popularity of boating and other activities offered to tourists. The island, along with several smaller neighbouring islands, constitutes the Manitoulin District census division of Ontario.

Year-round motor-vehicle access to the island is available via the one-lane Little Current Swing Bridge, which crosses the North Channel at Little Current. From late May to early October, a daily passenger-vehicle ferry, the MS Chi-Cheemaun (Ojibwe for "Big Canoe"), travels between Tobermory on the tip of the Bruce Peninsula and South Baymouth.

MS Chi-Cheemaun passenger-vehicle ferry at South Baymouth

Manitoulin Island's soil is relatively alkaline, which precludes the growth of common Northern Ontario flora such as blueberries, but allows for the island's trademark hawberries. These berries are so distinctive that people born on the island are referred to as "Haweaters". Each year on the August long weekend, the island hosts the Haweater Festival. The festival is a large tourist draw and includes parades, firework shows, craft shows, and rural competitions, such as horse pulls.

Demographics[edit]

As of 2006, the population is 13,090.[6]

Ethnic groups

Religious groups

The most common first languages on Manitoulin Island in 2011 were English (85.8%), Ojibwe (8.8%), French (3.0%), German (0.6%), and Dutch (0.3%).

History[edit]

In 1952 archeologist Thomas E. Lee discovered Sheguiandah on the island, a prehistoric site with artifacts of the Paleo-Indian and Archaic periods, dating at least to 10,000 BCE and possibly to 30,000 years ago.[2] Additional studies were undertaken by a team he led from the National Museum of Canada in succeeding years.[7] Popular interest in the finds was so high that it contributed to Ontario's passing legislation in 1953 to protect its archeological sites.[8] A team performed excavations again in the early 1990s, as well as being able to draw from new material in botany and other disciplines. They concluded the site was at least 9500 years old, making it one of the most significant in Ontario.[9]

Manitoulin means spirit island in Anishinaabemowin (the Ojibwe language). The island is considered sacred by the Native Anishinaabe people, who call themselves the "People of the Three Fires." They are generally known as the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi tribes.

The North Channel was part of the route used by the Voyageurs and Coureur des bois to reach Lake Superior. The first known European to settle on the island was Father Joseph Poncet, a French Jesuit, who set up a mission near Wikwemikong in 1648. The Jesuits called the island "Isle de Ste. Marie". Eurasian infectious diseases introduced by the visitors had a devastating effect on the island's population,[citation needed] as the Natives had no natural immunity to the new diseases.

In addition, the Five Nations of the Iroquois began raiding the island and area to try to control the fur trade with the French. As part of what was called the Beaver Wars, the Iroquois drove the Anishinaabe people from the island by 1650. According to Anishinaabe oral tradition, to purify the island from disease, the people burned their settlements as they left. The island was mostly uninhabited for nearly 150 years.

Native people (Odawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi) began to return to the island following the War of 1812. They ceded the island to the British Crown in 1836; the government set aside the land as a refuge for Natives. In 1838 Jean-Baptiste Proulx re-established a Roman Catholic mission. The Jesuits took over the mission in 1845.

In 1862, the government opened up the island to settlement by non-Native people by the Manitoulin Island treaty. As the Wikwemikong chief did not accept this treaty, his people's reserve was held back from being offered for development. That reserve remains unceded. On August 7, 1975 the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve reasserted their sovereignty over the islands off the east end of Manitoulin Island, declaring, "Wikwemikong Band has jurisdiction over its reservation lands and surrounding waters."[10]

The province erected an Ontario Historical Plaque on the grounds of the Assiginack Museum to commemorate the Manitoulin Treaties' role in Ontario's heritage.[11]

Notable residents[edit]

  • Daphne Odjig, artist, born and raised on the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island.
  • Kevin Closs, independent rock recording artist raised in Manitowaning.
  • Crystal Shawanda, country music artist from Wikwemikong
  • Isabel Paterson, writer born on Manitoulin Island
  • Carl Beam, Canadian artist of Native ancestry

References[edit]

  1. ^ "CBC.CA - Seven Wonders of Canada - Your Nominations - Manitoulin Island, Ontario". CBC News. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  2. ^ a b Lee, Thomas E. (1954). "The First Sheguiandah Expedition, Manitoulin Island, Ontario", American Antiquity 20:2, p. 101, accessed 13 Apr 2010
  3. ^ Pentland, David (1978). Cowan, W., ed. Papers of the Ninth Algonquian Conference. Ottawa: Carleton University. 
  4. ^ Valentine, Randolph. A Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar. University of Toronto Press. 
  5. ^ a b "The Island and Lake Combination". Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  6. ^ a b "Manitoulin Island", Census, Statcan
  7. ^ Lee, Robert E. Chapter 2, The Sheguiandah Site: Archaeological, geological and paleobotanical studies at a Paleoindian site on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, ed. Patrick Julig (2002), Toronto: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2002. ISBN 0-660-18755-8
  8. ^ Lee, Thomas E. (1955). "The Second Sheguiandah Expedition, Manitoulin Island, Ontario", American Antiquity 21:1, p. 63, accessed 13 Apr 2010
  9. ^ Julig, Patrick and Storck, . Chapters 4 and 5, The Sheguiandah Site: Archaeological, geological and paleobotanical studies at a Paleoindian site on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, ed. Patrick Julig (2002), Toronto: Canadian Museum of Civilization. ISBN 0-660-18755-8
  10. ^ "Wikwemikong History". Manitoulin Island. Manitoulin Island. 1975-08-07. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  11. ^ "Manitoulin Treaties Historical Plaque". Ontario's Historical Plaques. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 

External links[edit]