Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung National Historic Site of Canada
Manitou Mounds National Historic Site of Canada
Lieu historique national du Canada des Monticules-Manitou
Rainy River Burial Mounds
Sépultures tumulaires de la rivière Rainy
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung National Historic Site of Canada is part of a vast network of ancient burial mounds extending from Quetico in the east through Rainy River and Lake of the Woods into south-eastern Manitoba. Constructed from approximately 3000 BCE to 1650 CE, the national historic site of Canada consists of a 500 metre-wide strip of lowland stretching 3 kilometres along the north bank of the Rainy River in the isolated area mid way between Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods. The site contains 15 burial mounds and the archaeological remains of some 30 village sites.
Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung was declared a National Historic Site of Canada because of:
- its long cultural history including evidence of site occupancy and use by the Laurel and Blackduck cultures, with the visible burial mounds of those time periods.
Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung National Historic Site of Canada is one of the most significant centres of early habitation and ceremonial burial in Canada. It contains evidence of 5,000 years of human habitation including burial mounds from the Laurel (300 BCE - 1100 CE) and the Blackduck (800-1650 CE) cultures. Home to the Ojibway people in past centuries, the site area was homesteaded by the Rainy River First Nations from the time of the signing of Treaty no. 3 in 1873 to 1916, and therefore also contains evidence of cabins, farm buildings, and associated activities. This site has deep cultural and spiritual significance to the Ojibway people as a living link in the continuum of past, present and future. Its location at the centre of a major network of North American waterways also means it has significance to First Nations peoples on other parts of the continent.
The heritage value of Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung National Historic Site of Canada resides in its historical associations with past and present cultures as symbolized by its strong sense of place, the location and natural features of the site, the presence of its ancient burial mounds and habitation sites, and the site’s function as a living link between those who visited, occupied or used it in the past and the lives of the Ojibway people of today.
Source: Commemorative Integrity Statement, 1998.
Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- its continued use by the Ojibway people with respect for the continuity of this place as a living (and therefore evolving) link between past, present and future, and as a sacred place in First Nations, particularly Ojibway culture;
- the site’s relative isolation from major development and the health of its ecosystem including its relic oak savannah habitat, its Lakes-St.Lawrence Lowlands forest, its vascular plants, migratory and resident birds;
- the inter-relationship between the natural and man-made features;
- its ancient burial mounds and habitation sites in their undisturbed condition;
- the stability of the two broad terraces that contain the site;
- the presence of the Long Sault Rapids which allow access to an active freshwater fishery year-round;
- the relationship of the archaeological sites to the river and to the more recent (Ojibway) use of the land;
- the viewplanes between and among individual burial mounds and habitation sites, from the site to the river and to the open oak savannah areas along the river terraces, to burial mounds and habitation sites outside the area of the historic site of Canada.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
- Canada's Earliest Inhabitants
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Philosophy and Spirituality
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Aboriginal Sacred Site
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection