Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Early Man - Bannock Point Petroforms

A Post from our Canada trip:

We were driving south from Lake Winnepeg along Highway 307 late in the afternoon, when we noticed a sign along the road for "petroforms." When I read the historical information kiosk a the parking lot, I knew I definitely wanted to take the hike over. Sadly, since it was late in the day, I didn't grab my camera, but I did head off at a brisk pace up the steps, through the forest and up the hill to see what I could see.

We were on the Canadian shield, precambrian rock that is the oldest in the world. While there is forest surrounding the petroforms, there is a big open space at the top of the walk. The sight of old lichen covered bedrock, depressions filled with grass and moss surrounded by the forest rewarded me for the hike uphill to get here.

At first it took some study to find the petroforms, the first ones seemed like random stacking of rocks amidst the moss. However, the more we walked along the bare rock paths, the more we found. Henry joined me and we wandered through the area amazed at the number and the variety of the shapes. Some of them are obviously very old - notice how the lichens and moss surround the rocks with matching lichens.

Henry had brought his small camera along and began photographing as we tried to make sense of who did these shapes and why did they make them. The photos in this post are his!

These petroforms are actually pretty large and are quite varied - snakes, turtles, people, even a newer cross. The initial sign said that the oldest date back 2500 years. I tried to picture people in North America during that era - these are primitive art, but none the less interesting. Were they telling a story? Were they leaving messages for one another perhaps like modern graffiti? Were they nomads who had just come to a new land? From having read so much science fiction - were they trying to signal someone in the sky?

I did some research, it is difficult to make an actual date for these petroforms because there is definitely a large space of time between the oldest through the newest. One dating method, based upon a campsite that was near two small petroforms, suggests 500 AD.

Native people in this area, the Anishinabe (also called Ojibway or Saulteaux) still consider these sites as sacred. They call this area the Manito Ahbee, the place where God sits. They believe that this is the site where the first Anishinabe was lowered from the sky to the ground by the Creator.

As a Christian, what is impressive about this place is that even before the good news of Christ came to this area, the people knew there was a Creator and wanted to communicate with Him. I think modern society often misses the importance of the spiritual elements of the human soul. Too many people have decided there is no God and what we have here in this life is all there is . . . I also believe that if we earnestly seek God, he will reveal Himself to us.

The petroform area fascinated me - I could have spent more time there and would love to have heard an interpreter describe the current ideas about what the individual forms mean.

For more information about the Petroforms and related topics:
From Manitoba's Provincial Park website: Teaching Places, Healing Places: the Petroforms of Manitoba

Wapedia: Wiki:Petroform Manitoba Bannock Point Petroforms

I also found these two links that relate to the petroforms - the similarity is amazing . . .
Midewewin Stages of Life vs
Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development

Heart of the Healer

1 comment:

Haven said...

Excellent post.thank you..........