Patrick Kavanaugh holds up a small, white arrowhead about the size of his thumb.
“This could save Farabout Peninsula. This could save our future.”
Kavanaugh is holding a 2,000 year old quartz arrowhead which was discovered recently on the Farabout Peninsula.
“It’s just an honor to be holding one of our grandfathers here, piece of history,” he said.
Farabout Peninsula is a prosperous area on the traditional territories of Migisi Sahaigan – also known as Eagle Lake in northwestern Ontario, four hours northwest of Thunder Bay.
The find is significant because a new planning process is underway with the Dryden Forest Management Company.
Its harvesting licence is up for renewal in 2021.
“And that has potential to give them license to put a logging road onto the peninsula,” said Kavanaugh who is a councillor in the community. “So under the circumstances this would be an act of remarkable cultural insensitivity.”
Dale MacKenzie is the chair of the Farabout Peninsula Coalition.
“So this is Farabout, no cabins, no docks, no structures,” she said pointing to a map.
The coalition is a group of people who want the area protected from clear cutting.
MacKenzie grew up looking at this piece of land.
Her father started operating tourist camps here in the 1930s.
“This is all sensitive, that’s what they’ve called it,” she said.
The coalition started digging for artifacts this summer at the access point to the peninsula.
“We know it’s been used for over 2,000-years,” she said. “It’s a very natural place for people to have come back and forth across the lake because it’s quite protected.”
Allyne Gliddon is the archeologist in charge of the dig.
On this day, she’s showing grade five and six students from the Migisi Sahaigan school how to dig for artifacts.
She was on the dig when they found the arrowhead in June.
She credits MacKenzie with finding the evidence they need to hold the loggers at bay.
“She was in a test pit and turned over that turf layer so there was a complete white quartz projectile point on black soil so it was very difficult to miss,” she said.
The group also discovered pieces of pottery Gliddon said dates between 200 BC to 1,700 AD.
The two sites are now registered with the province which offers some protection from logging.
The coalition, which includes representatives from the First Nation, called the finds promising.
They hope it’s enough to save it from clear cutting.
“We’re looking for permanent protection of Farabout Peninsula,” said Kavanaugh.
“I kind of felt a connection to it from our ancestors, I really did. Even just by looking at the pictures, our ancestors were here.”
It’s a connection Kavanaugh wants to ensure is around for future generations.
The artifacts will remain under the care of Migisi Sahaigan.
And public consultations for the Dryden Forest Management plan are expected to start this fall.
The company said they are aware of the artifacts and other values identified on the land.