Rencontres du Patrimoine

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Pontiac resident Sebastien Beaudoin talks about First Nations history during the open mic time at Rencontres du Patrimoine, April 6. (Rencontres du Patrimoine)

Pontiac represented at Rencontres du Patrimoine 2024

 Deborah Powell

 GATINEAU – The fifth Rencontres du Patrimoine took place at the Université du Québec en Outaouais in Gatineau, April 6. Two of the dozen presentations given were about the Pontiac.

The Archéo-Pontiac project was presented by Ingrid Khol, daughter of historian Maude-Emmanuelle Lambert, who was also on stage along with teacher Audrey Lapointe.

“Les Rencontres seemed like a great opportunity to introduce this Pontiac project to the wider Outaouais heritage community, and to invite them to come and wield the trowel with us next autumn. What’s special about this project is it was developed by volunteers and brought together people of all ages who lived and shared a very concrete experience with the history of our region. Ingrid’s testimony made this clear. She spoke of the pleasure of searching for these traces and of the discussions between participants at the digs. The presentation also touched on the history of the Chats trading post and shared preliminary findings from the public digs,” explained Lambert.

Later, John McDonnell from Canadian Parks and Wilderness Association accompanied by Wally Schaber of the Friends of the Dumoine, spoke about the preservation and interpretation of the forestry history along the Dumoine River.

“We spent 5 years preparing the Dumoine Tote Road Trail for the public, and now that it’s open, we fear ‘we’re throwing a party and no one will come’. Talks like this to explain our vision are essential to getting the public to share our excitement and lend us their support,” explained Schaber. A wealth of information on the history of the river, going back more than a thousand years, can be found at www.sentierdumoine.ca

In the afternoon, at the open mic session, Mike Lamothe from L’Île-du-Grand-Calumet spoke about his project to reintroduce the Early Rose variety of heritage potato to the Pontiac. The variety is mentioned in the popular song “The Chapeau Boys” written in the 1880s, in the line “and good early roses full six inches long”. Another Pontiac resident, Sebastien Beaudoin, also used the open mic session to talk about First Nation history in the region.

The Rencontres du patrimoine is a biennial, bilingual event organized by the Société Pièce sur pièce that brings together lovers of regional history, provides a forum for research and projects, motivates those interested in looking into local history and fosters networking between participants. This year’s edition received financial support from the City of Gatineau as well as the government of Québec.