The Nipissing Archaeological Summer School was initiated by the Nipissing Land Office in 2014 with the support of Nipissing Enhancement funding. No other government, department or ministry contributes to the development or management of this summer school. There are three priorities for achievement that drive the program: Nipissing Land, Education and Economic Development.
In the first three years, Beaucage Park and the Mosquito Creek settlement areas were investigated. In 2017, the school searched the Garden Village lakefront (beach) cemetery, one of 12 known cemeteries or burial grounds both on and off Nipissing Nation land.
A survey of the Little Manitou island was also completed, including the remains of a kiln which may predate European settlement in the Nipissing territory. In 2018, the school studied the Little Sturgeon River, Mosquito Creek, Yellek, Duchesnay and Garden Village.
A three year study of Beaucage Park allowed the students to experience and work alongside their peers in selected areas for the digs. As they unearthed and screened the sandy, granular materials the students were amazed at the artifacts they found. They not only learned about archaeological processes, but also about their ancestors’ history and way of life.
Ken Swayze is the team lead on this study and shares his skills and experiences with the students. He has unearthed many artifacts and through his continuous research he is able to determine what the artifact item/tool is and provide a little history about what it was used for. He also taught students about archaeological standards and steps through various processes including excavation, documenting, labeling, photography and written recording.
This exciting experience has sparked interest for these students to consider further studies in archaeology and a career in this field of work. Many of our alumnae already earn wages from other archaeological sites in north eastern Ontario. For this sole reason of creating employment opportunities for our students, this Archaeological Summer School has been a successful project.
In Keeping with our Gichi-Naaknigewin
Our Gichi-Naaknigewin states strong and inherent principles about our people and the natural resources they depend on. The research and studies contribute to a better understanding of our ancestors and how we lived during the periods of time associated with the archaeological studies. It is with the understanding that all materials, artifacts, historical and archaeological studies will be utilized to further the Nipissing historical perspective.
We wish to thank Chief and Council, and most importantly, the Nipissing People, for providing Enhancement Fund dollars to educate our youth in an alternative field of study. This school provides all participants with an opportunity to uncover and promote the rebuilding and reinterpretation of our Nipissing Peoples’ rich and vibrant culture, heritage and history.