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Powwow Country: Dreamer’s Rock - Whitefish River First Nation, Ontario

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
30
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2012

Dreamer’s Rock
Whitefish River First Nation

Dreamer’s Rock, located on the Whitefish River First Nation in northern Ontario, no longer serves its original purpose. Yet the rock, which was previously primarily used by Aboriginal youth as a site to induce visions of their future, is still a place that attracts visitors. For generations, area Ojibwe boys approaching adulthood would be sent alone to the top of a steep trail where they would spend several days and nights beside a tall quartzite rock. That stone was called Dreamer’s Rock. Those who would make the journey to the top would fast in solitude for days, drinking only water. And they would sleep beside the rock, with only a blanket to comfort them on nights when it was cold. The belief was that after several days of fasting, the boys-soon-to-be-men would start having dreams and receive powers from a guardian spirit. Elders were among those that helped  interpret these dreams in order to help predict that individual’s future. For example, if one dreamed of a deer, then the thinking was the person would be a good hunter and fleet-footed. Those that dreamed of a bear would in turn show physical strength. And those who had visions of a squirrel, were told they would become smart. Many years ago adults would occasionally also climb up to Dreamer’s Rock. For the most part they would do so to seek help or guidance with the problems they were encountering in their lives. Dreamer’s Rock is no longer used as a site to induce visions. But visitors that make the journey there are rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the countryside.

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