The Mnjikaning Fish Fence Cirlce (MFFC) first came together when the removal of stakes was being proposed. Many people, including members of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, were concerned about disturbing the ancient Indigenous relics. Through open and respectful discussion, and using Indigenous methods to explore ideas, issues were aired and a course of action was chosen.
In 1993, the MFFC oversaw qualified archaeologists undertake a the removal of a small number of weirs that were threatened by erosion, boat traffic, and fishing pressures. Modern technology and preservation techniques allows the weirs to be maintained in archives without the risk of deterioration. Before they were removed, the archaeologists ensured the weirs to be removed were not the oldest ones (some of which are thousands of years old). Safeguards were put in place to ensure that the hundreds of weirs that remain in the site were not affected by construction of a second bridge over the Narrows.
The Future of the Fish Fence
The work of the circle continues today and points to a hopeful future in which the historic site is preserved and interpreted to the public. Members of the Circle include representatives of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, local municipal governments and historical associations, residents of the area, and the Trent-Severn Waterway and Parks Canada. Community involvement is crucial to the Circle’s efforts on behalf of the site.
Discussions are underway aimed at documenting the development pressures in the Atherley Narrows, and arriving at recommendations for balancing use of the area with preservation of the National Historic Site.
Education is an important tool to be used in protecting and presenting the site. Nearby landowners, business people, tourists, the fishing public, and school groups can understand and appreciate the weirs and join in the effort to preserve them for many years to come.
We Need Your Help!
Join the Mnjikaning Circle by contacting us via the box below. Share your throughts about this national treasure. Volunteer your time and talents. Donate to the fund that has been established to preserve and interpret the site so that others may appreciate it.