Friday, June 30, 2017

Ancient petroform in Manitoba's Whiteshell Park destroyed

Rocks that formed shape of snake at sacred site rearranged into inukshuk
Austin Grabish - CBC News
 June 30, 2017 

An inukshuk now sits where there was previously an ancient petroform depicting a snake. (Diane Maytwayashing )

   “Petroforms are arrangements of rocks that make up the outline of an animal or other distinctive shape when viewed from a distance. The Bannock Point site is a sacred place used from time to time by First Nations people for ceremonial purposes, according to Manitoba Parks and Protected Spaces.
    But when Maytwayashing and her group reached the petroforms, they discovered the stones of one — arranged in the shape of a snake — had been rearranged into an inukshuk.
   "I felt my heart fall to my stomach. It was really horrible," said Maytwayashing who guides visitors to Bannock Point and Tie Creek. "It kind of numbed me because it was like a violation was happening."
    Maytwayashing, an Anishinaabekwe woman and area guide and educator, said the snake represented a sacred feminine ancient story. She said the stones are considered as sacred as the Stonehenge in England or the Egyptian pyramids.
     "It was a place of gathering for thousands of years."
      Maytwayashing believes the destruction of the snake petroform and building of the inukshuk was a malicious act of vandalism...”
 Full Story:

An Update:
“An elder who's spent his life caring for a series of sacred stones that were recently disturbed in a Manitoba park says the site can be put back together and still has a future.
Ron Bell, who hails from the Sagkeeng First Nation, says the snake-shaped petroform at Bannock Point, which an Indigenous tour guide discovered disturbed this week, isn't ruined and doesn't need to be protected by security.

"This is nothing new."

Bell said he's been taking care of that petroform and about 200 others that are largely unknown in the Whiteshell Provincial Park for 63 years.
I have all this stuff recorded," said Bell, who started taking care of the site when he was seven-years-old...”


Norman said...

I'm sure this petroform has been photographed many times from various angles, and it might be possible to relocate the stones in their original order.

Tim MacSweeney said...

How did you become interested in rock art?
(Jack) Steinbring: Back about 1966 I was lecturing to an introductory anthropology class at the University of Winnipeg and one of the students in the class, who was also studying at the University of Manitoba, came up to me and said, "We were flying over Whiteshell Forest Preserve [now Whiteshell Provincial Park] and we think we found the ruins of an ancient city."
I thought to myself, "Yeah, you did."
"Bring me some pictures and if it is of interest, I'll go take a look."
He brought in photos showing lines of boulders. They looked intriguing. "Maybe you should go out and do a little mapping and measuring," I said. He did. I was getting sold on the idea that there was something there.
It turned out to be the Tie Creek site, the largest petroform site in North America. It covers nine acres. It has seven interconnected features, one of them over a hundred feet long. One has a bird shape, one is a huge rectangle, there's a circle with a triangle in the middle, and a great elliptical shape. These were obviously placed there by man, not by natural agency.
First, we had to meticulously map the site. That took three years. We did the first major study of the site, which was published in 1970..."

Tim MacSweeney said...

"In fact, the group that investigated the Tie Creek site invented the term "petroform," specifically Dr. Peter Douglas Elias, which is actually the fellow who called my attention to the site in the first place (Jack says)..."

Tim MacSweeney said...

How do we mark our sacred spaces - with pictograph and petroform as earlier people did? Not exactly, though eons hence perhaps someone will have to wonder over the lay of our rocks, the cast of our bronze.
While the work is archeology and anthropology- somewhat cold and disinterested - the task of understanding sacred sites is also holy work and there is room in it for more than the professional. There is room for poet and farmer and any and all of us who care about these places.
(Also from the Tom Montag, the man interviewing JS in the article)
Tuesday, September 09, 2008

SRUN POR said...

I was very fortunate to be able to visit your page.

Norman said...

I heard from Jack Steinbring, and he said this has been happening for ages, and many of the petroforms have been rebuilt over decades. Nothing new, he concluded.


Matthew Howes said...

In people's personal opinions... do you think that these rock artists know the cultural treasure(s) they are messing up? Or is this from shear ignorance, not knowing what they are messing around with? It would be nice to hear someone's thoughts on the matter. (this particular effigy is pretty iconic... I would imagine some new age/ hippie would be aware of these iconic stone petro-forms?)