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Area contributions by Indigenous peoples that might surprise you

In this edition of Remember This, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre looks back on some of the inventions created by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.
Paddlers canoeing on the Grassy River. This river was used as a First Nations trade route. It would have been travelled on extensively by canoe. Today, it is still used as a canoe route and is popular for wildlife viewing.

Friday, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. This day is dedicated to celebrating the heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. 

Since several indigenous groups for at least 6,000 years have been living in these lands, we can reflect on some of the many cultural features in our community.  

Many names around town are original. Lakes such as Papakomeka, Kenogamissi, and Katoshaskepeko, as well as rivers such as Mattagami and Tatchikipika, were names given by the first people of the Porcupine.  

Many Indigenous inventions used thousands of years ago are still used today in our northern region.

One very familiar invention many northerners enjoy is the canoe. Canoes were crafted and used to travel across the lands to trade, hunt, or fish. First Nations Peoples taught the newcomers in our region how to canoe and travel the waterways of the north.

The art of snowshoeing and tobogganing are still enjoyed by many in our snowy season. They were originally created as a way to attain year-round access to the interior lands and travel during the winter months when the lakes and rivers froze over.

They introduced the use of herbs for medicine by combining wild plants, balsam, various pine trees, maple syrup, and honey to relieve colds and coughs. Pain relief medicine and other medical aids like petroleum jelly, and the use of vitamin C to relieve scurvy were also introduced.

The Indigenous peoples also fashioned equipment to survive the Canadian north such as; snow goggles, parkas, the kayak and introduced Canada to our official summer sport of lacrosse.

Survival in the north would have been much more challenging without the help of these inventions. 

Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins Museum has to offer at and look for more Remember This? columns here.