Photograph Album: Canadian Canoe Trip Through Indigenous Lands, ca. 1911-1913


An engaging and delightful album of historically important, personal snapshots of canoe trips through Quebec, 1911-1913, the photographs being further animated by the typed captions, which provide details regarding locations, dates, names, and/or the photographer’s relationship to the subjects.

Photographed subjects feature Indigenous peoples, camps, families, activities, and homes, including “Indian Women”; “Indian Burial Ground in the Wilderness”; “Indian Family Summer Camp”; “Indian Cache in the Wilderness”. The content of the captions and ease of the subjects suggest a friendly and familiar relationship with the photographer (ex. “Kapedkedeutchi — Foam falls — never before photographed — I was probably the Third White Man to see it”). Also represented are Hudson’s Bay Company Posts and Trading Houses, churches, a Lumber Camp, a French Habitant farm. A few photographs portray the photographer himself, his canoe, tent, and dog (“Mr. Del. Smalley”). One portrait of the photographer is captioned “On Indian Trail along Miskokan River”: this bears a Greek annotation translating roughly as “your dear” (- translation by Maggs Bros.).

Areas depicted include “Obijuan (Obiduan, now Obeydjiwan) Lake”, and surrounding areas North-West of Quebec city; and a smiling Atikamekw Chief Gabriel Awashish in a birchbark canoe. The Atikamekw people’s homes and lands in Obeydjiwan were flooded in 1918 with the installation of the La Loutre Dam: as such this album documents lands that are now not only lost but washed away. The government neither warned the Atikamekw of the flooding of their land nor properly compensated the loss of homes, lands, or livelihoods, as found in the 2016 Mainville Rulings.  The Atikamekw and the Great-Grandson of Awashish continued to fight for compensation.

Locations mentioned include: Portage de la Montagne; St. Maurice River; Obijuan Lake; Cootijiwasten Lake; Kekendatch; Weymontechene (Wemotaci); Post de Roi on Chamouchouan Lake; La Riviere Croche, Manuan River; Mondonock River; Chaudiere Falls on St. Maurice River; Escalana River; Memmicassiouimany.

[Quebec], ca. 1911-1913. Limp-canvas binding with black paper leaves; 92 albumen photos mounted with black photo-corners. Typed captions pasted-in below most photographs, some with handwritten corrections/additions.


$15,000.00 CAD