Anishinabek Nation responds to the desecration of Sacred Site in Bon Echo Provincial Park

BARRIE, ON (September 14, 2023) – The Chiefs of the Anishinabek Nation Southeast Region are calling attention to the recently discovered vandalism of a Sacred Site in Bon Echo Provincial Park.

Mazinaw Rock has been a designated national historic site of Canada since 1982. It is the largest rock pictograph site on the southern Canadian Shield and the only site in southern Ontario that is accessible to the public. It is a very meaningful site to Anishinabek Nation communities in the Southeast Region and beyond. It is a sacred site that contains more intricate and detailed abstract and symbols than other sites that have been found.

“It is appalling to see this purposeful desecration and vandalism to Mazinaw Rock. This site is a living testament to the history of the Anishinaabe and other nations who used these waterways as travelling routes for generations. This blatant destruction is a deliberate attempt to further erase our history and deprives us and future generations of rightful access to our spiritual and sacred sites,” states Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe.

Self-preserving for centuries, the official historic designation was a welcome gesture.

“We appreciated the effort to preserve our living history through the protection of this sacred site; however, it is more than a historic site,” expresses Grand Council Chief Niganobe. “There are over 250 pictographs on the rocks at Mazinaw Lake that feature spiritual and cultural elements holding immeasurable value to our peoples, it is a link to our past, present, and future. We all have the responsibility to ensure that Mazinaw Rock is protected for the benefit of the generations to come.”

The Anishinabek Nation will be reaching out to Parks Canada and the Province of Ontario to discuss how it can work together to properly clean the site with the inclusion of proper cultural protocol and involvement from local community Elders and Knowledge Keepers. Leadership also recommends that further protection efforts be examined to ensure that this type of vandalism does not happen again.

Further, the Anishinabek Nation appeals to the public to come forth with any information leading to those responsible for this desecration.

“We consider this heinous act a hate crime, rooted in discrimination and racism, and should be treated as such. When this type of hateful activity is displayed towards the successor state and their institutions, it is taken seriously and resources are expended to ensure that the perpetrators face the appropriate consequences,” states Grand Council Chief Niganobe. “We deserve and expect that same recourse of action.”