Midē ́wiwin Pictography on Artery Lake of the Bloodvein River System, Extreme Northwest Ontario, Canada

Lenville J. Stelle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The pictographs on Artery Lake of the Bloodvein River, Ontario (EiKs-1 and EiKs-4) offer an important view of rock art design and purpose during late prehistory. They characterize design themes in an expansive area encircling the Great Lakes and extending north-south from the Ohio River to above Manitoba. Of special significance is that there are, arguably, here found the most complete corpus of iconography that can be assigned to the Algonquian Midē ́wiwin or Grand Medicine Society. EiKs-1 comprises six panels which provide graphic illustration for such diverse content as mythic narrative of creation, organizational origin, shamanic power and protocol, Midē ́ brandings, and megis. The site seems sanctified by the overarching agency of Nanabushu, the Great Hare. The second site consists of a panel proximate to a tilted and unconformed stratum of iron-oxide rich quartzite. The glyphs seem to correspond to Ojibwe narrative associated with Maymaygweshi, the little folk of the water’s edge that provide the red pigment, and Mishipeshuor, the Underwater Panther. In Illinois, Mishipeshu comes to us, for instance, as the familiar Piasa pictograph, disfigured as it is by folklore. Virtually all images are finger applied and utilize iron-oxide based pigment.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProgram and Abstracts - 62nd Annual Meeting
StatePublished - 2018


  • ISAS


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