Image: Graphic of the Wayfinding symbol
Text: Algonquin Wayfinding SymbolStories and Symbols
Voice Over: Kwey Kwey! Welcome to this tour of the Algonquin Wayfinding symbol. My name is Simon Brascoupe, Algonquin artist and designer of this symbol.
Video: The animation zooms in on the copper spear point at the top of the symbol
Voice Over: We begin with the Algonquin spear point, made of copper, on the top or the northern direction.
Video: A Fishhook, Spear point and Ax fade in
Voice Over: Algonquins historically made tools like fishhooks, spear points and axes by flattening copper, and then folding and forming them into durable tools and weapons around 5000 years ago.
Video: A moose, fox, crane and chickadee travel across the screen
Voice Over: Next, we have a number of animals important to Algonquin culture and survival. The animals were identified by elders during visits I took during the development of this design.
Video: The animals on the wayfinding symbol glow from bottom to top.
Voice Over: If you look at the animals carefully, the order from bottom to top is water to land to air.
Video: The fish and eel swim across
Voice Over: We start first with animals that are in the water, like the fish and the eel,
Video: The muskrat, otter and beaver swim across
Voice Over: and then the mammals that live in the water like muskrat, otter, beaver.
Video: The loon, duck and crane fly across
Voice Over: Next, there are the birds that live in the water such as the loon, duck and crane.
Video: A rabbit jumps across followed by the wolf, bear, moose and deer
Voice Over: Then, there is a transition from water to the land with a playful rabbit who is running to larger mammals: wolf, bear, moose, and deer.
Video: The blue jay, hawk and eagle fly across the sky
Voice Over: And finally, there are the birds in the sky like the blue jay, hawk and finally the eagle.
Video: A bunch of chickadees fly across the screen in different directions
Voice Over: I incorporated the chickadee in a couple of places. The chickadee is the unofficial bird of Ottawa. And the chickadee is very hearty. In the dead of winter you don’t see a lot of birds when it’s very cold, but you’ll see the chickadee still flying around. I love the chickadee’s voice because you hear it in the spring, summer, fall and winter.
Video: The moose and the grey jays fade into the centre
Voice Over: There is the story of the moose and two birds that are at the centre of the Way Finding symbol.
Video: There is a forest with green trees and a sun moving across the sky
Voice Over: My dad told me he was hunting with one of my uncles in Algonquin territory just north of Kitigan Zibi. My father said they went hunting in the fall just after it had snowed.
Video: Two grey jays appear and then fly away
Voice Over: My uncle saw two grey Jays and spoke to them in Algonquin saying “Go find me a moose and we’ll both have meat tonight.”
Video: The grey jays reappear with a moose travelling behind them
Voice Over: My father and my uncle sat there all day and just as the sun was going down, the two grey jays came flying back over a hill. Behind them was a moose.
Video: The rick rack edge fades in and rotates, showing a teepee, tree and mountain.
Voice Over: Around the edge of the design you see a rick rack design representing teepees, trees and mountains. They represent the endless cycle of Algonquin history in this territory.
Video: All the aspects of the wayfinding symbol fade into view showing the completed symbol
Voice Over: So that’s my interpretation of what I heard and learned. But I think everyone can bring their own interpretation to it. I encourage you to bring it to life with your own meaning and stories.