The Lost Water Temple of the Algonquin Indians
By Chad Beckwith-Smith
When I was a boy growing up in Combermere, Ontario I would visit the old trapper and woodsman Tom Mahon at Tom’s lookout on Craigmont Road. He knew the history of the area and the forest like the back of his hand. I would knock on Tom’s cabin door, and he was always happy to see me and invite me in for a cup of tea. He would light up one of his favorite pipes, sit back in his overstuffed chair and tell me stories of the forest and the Indians who lived within them.
He knew many Indians. One of them was a half-breed named Moise Franswa. Tom told me that Moise had one of the best hand-made bows that he had ever seen and that they often hunted together.My Mom and Dad bought Moises’ old homestead farm, and that is where I was raised, so I was particularly interested in what was known about the Indians who lived in the area. Tom told me that the Algonquin Indians had a village on Indian point on Negeek Lake, south of Combermere and that above his house they would always post a lookout for Iroquois raiding parties.
The lookout was just above Tom’s cabin on top of the mountain on a flat rock that jutted out of the cliff. It was well that they posted a lookout as the Iroquois did come and a huge battle took place on my Mom’s farm. Arrowheads can still be found there from the fierce battle that took place. The Algonquin Indians won the battle as the Iroquois retreated. There were many wounded Braves from the fight, and the whole tribe would carry them to the Algonquin water temple where they would be healed by the sacred miraculous waters. They would lay the sick or injured in the water, and the waters would heal them. What did not heal the body brought comfort to the soul of the sick or injured Indians.
“This was a special holy place for the Algonquin Indians,” Tom said. Then the white man discovered the minerals there and started to mine nearby. The miners built the town of Craigmont and chased the Indians away, off their land and their holy Indian water Temple. The mine played out, and the town rotted away, but sadly the Algonquin Indians never returned.
nquin Indians who first found it. In the 1950s, a road worker came with a bulldozer and caved in part of it. This of course brings to mind the Taliban and the Buddha statues, except it was us.
It is interesting to note that a lone Christian monk on a lifetime hermitage lives at the gateway to the sacred water temple. It as if he is giving the last testament to the beauty and power of the Indian water temple. He is a humble man and very revered as a holy man by all those who know him. He lives there in peace far away from humanity and all its busyness and ills. Truly this is his sojourn of nature’s healing powers and God’s graces.
Our forest is a breath-taking place
Here are some of my photos and videos I took while in the forest exploring or hunting for Chaga mushroom. Photography is something that produces a change both in myself and those that view photographs of nature. The camera lens captures what the human eye leaves behind. I hope you enjoy the photos of where I harvest the Chaga.
Chaga Mushroom and Photos of the Forest