Aabnaabin Camp

Looking Back to Where We Come From

The Aabnaabin Camp at Lang Pioneer Village Museum is one of the Village’s many features. Visitors can witness a living history interpretation of Michi Saagiig heritage at the Museum for the dates (and subsequent operating hours) of the Spring School program, the Museum’s summer season and at the various special events.

First Nation History and Interpretation at Lang Pioneer Village Museum

Lang Pioneer Village Museum has been cultivating relationships with partners from Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations since 2007. Our mission is to preserve, promote and authentically recreate the history of Peterborough County. In an effort to move away from a colonial/settler only viewpoint to one that includes the history of the First Nations people that were living in Nogojiwanong prior to the arrival of settlers, our communities have come together to create awareness and foster cultural integrity. For many years now the interpretation of First Nations has been in relation to how the Michi Saagiig people helped the settlers survive.

This partnership between Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations and Lang Pioneer Village Museum strives to create a space for local First Nations to tell their history from their perspective, and to provide local First Nations with an opportunity to share their culture and traditions with the public in a living-history format. In order to do this we have come together to create a permanent First Nation site in the Village where the living history of the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg can be told by them.


  • Expand the inclusivity of the history of the County of Peterborough that is currently interpreted at Lang Pioneer Village Museum to include the First Peoples who lived in this area before the settlers arrived, and whose willingness to share their knowledge and resources were integral to their survival.
  • Strengthen already existing partnerships between Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations and Lang Pioneer Village Museum.
  • Research and development of interpretation of local Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg history.
  • Inclusion of First Nation youth, Elders and knowledge keepers from the partnering communities, in the project.
  • Deconstruction of colonial perceptions with the inclusion of First Nation perspective on local history, and fostering of diversity in public education; Educational facility for both First Nations and Non-First Nations peoples.
  • Providing an opportunity for residents of Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations, as well as Peterborough and surrounding areas, to learn about their own history and traditions in a living-history context.
  • Provide opportunities for youth from Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations to enhance their knowledge of history and traditional skills and to interpret these to the public.
  • Raise public awareness about the history, culture and traditional skills of the First Nation communities in Nogojiwanog; this will correct an imbalance in the story that has been told thus far.
  • Honouring the Sacred Teachings in all our interactions as we work together to create reciprocity and understanding between cultures.
  • To create greater awareness of the importance of First Nations peoples to the development of Canada as a country.
  • To provide an introduction to Anishinaabemowin language and its connection to the land.

Interpretation/Demonstration of Traditions and Skills:

  • Significance of the Canoe
  • Corn Pounding
  • Build several types of lodges (as demonstration) and explain uses (i.e. Smoking lodge)
  • Plant a traditional garden (tobacco, sage, sweet grass and cedar) and explain medicinal and spiritual significance
  • Build and demonstrate the use of fishing weirs, and basket traps, fishing spears
  • Build and demonstrate use of sugaring troughs
  • Bows and their use
  • Muskets (deactivated)
  • Tanning hides
  • Paddle-making
  • Finger weaving for sashes and bags
  • Seasonal harvests and processing (ie. Wild rice harvesting)
  • Use of snowshoes and toboggans
  • Use of cranberry shoes
  • Basket-making
  • Moccasin-making
  • Smudging practice – materials, purpose and spiritual significance
  • Dreamcatchers – demonstration and significance
  • Hunting – pelts of various animals that were/are used for food; old-time steel traps
  • Story-telling – Creation story, Trickster and others
  • Cooking over an open fire

Visitor Hands-On Activities:

  • Creation of Dream Catchers
  • Beadwork
  • Leatherwork
  • Finger weaving
  • Wild rice stomping
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