Like other parts of North America, the Ottawa-Gatineau region was once acknowledged to be Indigenous land by colonial settlers. Through a unilateral and fraudulent ‘legal’ process, colonial officials dispossessed the Algonquin of the territory that includes present-day Ottawa.
This tour examines contact between the Algonquin and settlers and subsequent battles over land use, ownership and control. The 250 year history of Algonquin resistance to settler occupation and ‘ownership’ provides the context for a consideration of the broader strategies of British and Canadian colonialism.
Visiting a number of key sites in central Ottawa, the tour looks at key moments of Indigenous resistance to colonialism, and the evolving colonial strategy developed by London and Ottawa-based officials. Included is a consideration of how Ottawa ‘remembers’ and forgets important events in the Indigenous-colonial relationship, including:
- Tecumseh’s revolutionary pan-Indian alliance and the war of 1812;
- How colonial officials dispossessed the Algonquin of the land now known as ‘Parliament Hill’;
- The Metis Rebellion of 1885 and its suppression;
- The Department of Indian Affairs and creation of the Residential School system;
- The 1970s ‘Red Power’ movement;
- Inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in Canada’s 1982 constitution;
- The Algonquin land claim in Eastern Ontario that includes Ottawa and Parliament Hill; and
- The Idle no More movement.
Those interested in learning more about the topics covered can consult the following sources:
- Fractured Homeland: Federal Recognition and Algonquin Identity in Ontario, Bonita Lawrence, UBC Press, 2012
- The Ancestors are Arranging Things: A Journey on the Algonkin Trail, Noreen Kruzich, Borealis Press, 2011
- The Truth that Wampum Tells: My Debwewin on the Algonquin Land Claims Process, Lynn Gehl, Fernwood, 2014
- Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from the Earliest Times, Olive Dickason, Oxford University Press
What our clients say
“An interesting and informative history of the Parliament buildings, a history you will not learn in the "official tours". The history of the workers, of citizens and their struggles to be heard on the Hill while still visiting all the major buildings and monuments - only seeing them through a different lens. Informative and challenging. A great addition for visitors Continue Reading
“I've lived in Ottawa for ages and can't believe how little I knew of our city's past. The tour leader has distilled an impressive breadth of research on these subjects, and in addition to presenting an engaging story, is seemingly impossible to stump for an answer to any related questions! It was time well spent and I'd recommend the tours Continue Reading
Book Indigenous Tour
- All tours are $25 (cash) payable at the end of the tour.
- Tours must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. (You will receive confirmation of your booking.)
- Tours proceed rain or shine and start from the amphitheatre at the corner of Mackenzie and Rideau/Wellington, next to Milestone’s restaurant (across the street from the Chateau Laurier). Google Maps.