Meaning of Icon
Wiidookdaadiwin is an Ojibway word meaning working together and helping one another. The name of the sculpture, chosen by the elders of the Chippewa Tri Council, symbolizes the working relationship, sharing of knowledge and the teachings that have gone on for centuries.
Wiidookdaadiwin recognizes the First Nations, explorers, settlers and military that traversed the lakes, rivers, islands and portages in the area between Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe. It helps us relive and remember the passage of culture and history as we view a First Nation person and a European trader about to start a journey together.
Long before the arrival of the European, First Nation peoples were already active traders who had extensive trade networks in place along well established travel routes throughout the continent.
The First Nation peoples had the skills and knowledge that helped the white man adapt to the new world, and they had the masterful creation in the birch bark canoe. This craft could manage the harshness of early wilderness travel while carrying a heavy load of trade goods and still be light enough to portage as the need arose. The birch bark canoe was the primary means of transportation and trade connection between tribal groups and Europeans and contributed significantly in reshaping the North American continent.
This bronze sculpture created by Simcoe County resident, sculptor Marlene Hilton Moore, is a visual reminder of who we are and helps us have a better understanding of where we are going.
Significant historical sculptures by Marlene Hilton Moore also include the Valiants Memorial, Confederation Square in Ottawa, John Graves Simcoe in Simcoe County and Sir Wilfred Laurier at Wilfred Laurier University.
War of 1812
Britain's military alliances with First Nations were integral to the defence of British North America. During the War of 1812, First Nation peoples sided with the British with a common objective to resist American expansion, and played important roles in the defence of the British territories against invading American forces.
At the outset of the War, there were more than 10,000 First Nation warriors to assist the British whose strength amounted to about 1,600 regulars, supported by local settler militia. First Nations warriors were seen
as exceptional fighters and participated in nearly every major battle of the War.
In August 1814, Chief Assiginack led a force of Odawa warriors to aid Lieutenant Worsley In the defence of the British Schooner HMS Nancy at the mouth of the Nottawasaga River. Along with his warriors, Assiginack was key in the capture of the Tigress and Scorpion, two of the ships that had destroyed HMS Nancy.
First Nation Principals of the War local to this area include Chief Yellow Head from Mnjikaning (Rama) First Nation who was also the head chief of the Chippewas of Lakes Huron and Simcoe, Chief Assance from Beausoleil First Nation and Chief Snake from Georgina Island First Nation. These Chiefs, in alliance with the British, defended the British retreat at the Battle of York, and were presented with King George III Peace Medals from the British government.
Historically, Simcoe County contained numerous aboriginal villages and significant trade and travel routes. This area has been best known as the home of the Huron Indian, but was also home to other tribes, including the Petun and more recently the Chippewa.
The Huronia Lookout overlooks the site of Fort Willow and a portion of the Nine Mile Portage that connects Kempenfeldt Bay to Lake Huron by way of the Willow Creek and the Nottawasaga River:
The Nine Mile Portage was used for centuries by First Nation peoples, traders, and explorers as part of a major transportation route to Western Canada.
Fort Willow was used as a supply depot by the British during the War of 1812, and was particularly important to the defence of Fort Michilimackinac after the Americans had seized naval control of the Upper Great Lakes.