Anishinaabe Pictograph Sites of Manitoba

Previous Post: Anishinaabe Pictograph Sites of Ontario.

In Anishinaabe Pictograph Sites of the The Canadian Shield I provided an introduction to this series of posts.  What you are looking at here is one of the posts dealing with a Canadian province or U.S. area where the indigenous rock paintings are found.  This is definitely a work in progress and I hope that more research and the help of interested readers and fellow canoe trippers will lead to the addition of more sites.

All blue text leads to a map,  more info and/or pix.

Manitoba Pictograph Sties (as of 1964)…map from Dewdney's Stone Age Paintings

Manitoba Pictograph Sites (as of 1964!)…map from Dewdney’s Stone Age Paintings (1965)

Atik Bay – see Sasaginnigak Lake

Berens River (just above Manito Rapids and Fishing Lake) …Dewdney writes in Stone Age Paintings (1965), published by the Government of Manitoba’s Dep’t. of Mines and Natural Resources (Parks Branch) –

Of the two sites found on fingers of the southeast arm of Fishing Lake only a couple of miles apart, one is small and badly obscured by lichen….The other, consisting of a single face some four feet square that is reproduced in figure 13, has a remarkable ruddy appearance, contrasting strongly with the surrounding rock…(p.28)

Berens River System (Fishing Lake)

Download here the section of Stone Age Paintings dealing with the two Fishing Lake sites and the one below Bushey Lake (Bloodvein river system)

Berens River (Horseshoe Lake below Manitou Rapids)

Berens River (Big Moose Falls)

Bigshell Lake

Bloodvein rock paintings below Bushey Lake

Bloodvein rock paintings below Bushey Lake – see here for more discussion

Bloodvein River (below Bushey Lake) –  click here to see my post on canoeing the Bloodvein for  images and discussion of the site just below the rapids from Bushey Lake and on Stonehouse Lake

Bloodvein River (Stonehouse Lake) – two sites

Bloodvein River (Kautunigan Lake) –  We paddled by the site on Day 11 of our trip down the Bloodvein. See here for pix and discussion of the site.

Bloodvein Pictograph just south of the new bridge crossing the Bloodvein

Bloodvein Pictograph just south of the new bridge crossing the Bloodvein

Bloodvein River (near mouth at Lake Winnipeg) – two sites

Churchill River – an estimated 25 sites along the Man. stretch

Churchill River (Opachuanau Lake – Oil Drum Site)

Churchill River (Opachuanau Lake – Face Site)

Churchill River  (Opachuanau Lake  – Caribou Nest Site)   –  about 6 km  downstream  from Leaf Rapids

Fishing Lake – two sites recorded by Dewdney (his Sites #204 and 205) located on the    Berens River east of the lake and just above Manitou Rapids. See here for the topo.

Grass River (Tramping Lake) – more info here and exact location here

Hayes River (Knee Lake) – location near this lodge

High Rock Narrows – and here for Site #2

Lenallen Lake

Manigotagan River (Long Lake) – brief Canadian Canoe Routes forum  thread. Essential reading:  pp. 9-21 of Steinbring. Aboriginal Rock Painting Sites in Manitoba. 1998 in Manitoba Archaeological Journal (Volume 8. Nos 1-2)

Molson Lake (see Paimusk Creek)

North Oxford Lake (Hayes River)

paimusk pictographs-2

Paimusk Creek (Molson Lake)

Paimusk Creek (Molson Lake inflow)  –  Bob Henderson mentions 100 images.  His text has the creek spelled as  Paimish and Paimisk. See here for some excellent research on the northern Ojibwe migration to the Norway House area.

Sasaginnigak Lake – Of the main site (see map) Steinbring writes that it is likely  “the largest single rock painting site in Manitoba”.  He identifies nine panels stretch out over 200 meters (with a 75-meter gap between Panels VIII and IX).  See pp. 21-51 of his Aboriginal Rock Painting Sites in Manitoba in the Manitoba Archaeological Journal (1998-Volume 8. Nos 1-2)) for a fascinating examination of the site and parallels with images from other sites in Manitoba and beyond.

There are  two other sites on Sasaginnigak Lake; one is on Atik Bay, just to the west of the major site described above. See here for a topo map view – exact location still not determined. Third site unkown…

Milosivic Northern_Manitoba_53_Tramping_Lake_Pictographs_20

Stan Milosevic photo of Tramping Lake rock painting site – see here for more photos of the site

Tramping Lake – see also Grass River for info.

Upper Molson River – no info at present


Further Resources:

A June 2014 find on the internet was a 1965 publication titled Stone Age Paintings published by the Department of Mines and Resources of the Province of Manitoba. The writer/ illustrator is none other than Selwyn Dewdney.  Most the digital formats of the booklet only have the text of the original publication; the pdf format reproduces the entire booklet, images and all.  While it is fifty years old, It is still worth looking through Dewdney’s drawings and descriptions of the various sites.  Access it here.

a drawing from Dewdney’s Stone Age Painting (1965)

In late April 2017 I came across a reference to this –

  • a  Jack Steinbring piece titled Aboriginal Rock Painting Sites in Manitoba in the 1998 volume of Manitoba Archaeological Journal (Volume 8. Nos 1-2)

I had read a brief article of his on the massive and impossible-to-miss Bloodvein moose – the one we somehow paddled right by at the end of our trip down the Bloodvien without even seeing!

On finding a copy of the Journal  at the Toronto Reference Library  (April 2017) I was amazed to find that the Steinbring “article” actually makes up the entire contents of the journal for that year!  I started reading  and after an hour decided to photocopy the entire article so I could bring it home with me.  It  took a half-hour and $13. to get the job done!

Article?  It really should be a book and more widely known and available. It is the best single thing I have found on pictographs in Manitoba!

  • 134 pages of text, drawings, and b&w images  dealing with a half-dozen sites,
  • an extensive bibliography,
  • and 35 colour plates.

I’ll have to return to the library to see those plates in the full colour!

Its 1998 publishing date also makes it more up-to-date than anything else other there (at least that I am aware of).  Here is a list of the specific sites covered –

  • The Rice Lake Pictograph – pp. 1-9
  • The Long Lake (Manigotogan River system) Pictograph Site – pp. 9-21
  • The Sasaginnigak Lake Rock Painting Site – pp. 21- 51
  • The Tramping Lake Rock Painting Site – pp. 52-72
  • The Paimusk Creek Rock Painting Site – pp. 73-94
  • The Leaf Rapids Rock Painting Site –   pp.94-123

Not only does Steinbring do a masterful job of describing the images at the various sites; he also makes use of other pictographs from across the Canadian Shield to explain or expand on the issue at hand.  Along the way he never fails to acknowledge and describe the work and contributions of those academic researchers and Anishinaabe knowledge-holders who laid the foundation of our understanding of pictographs of the Canadian Shield. Good luck in tracking down your own copy!

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Your comments and questions are always appreciated, as are any suggestions on how to make this post more useful to future travellers. Just drop me a line or two!

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