Indigenous Perspective: The Importance of Sweetwater

Indigenous Perspective: The Importance of Sweetwater

The gathering of Maple syrup is an ancient practice that helped sustain the Anishinaabe People for thousands of years. The maple tree (ininaatig) is referred to as the “leader” because it is the first tree to wake up in the spring, even when there is still lots of deep snow on the ground.

The sugar maple produces the largest amounts of sap (ininaatigwaaboo) with the greatest concentration of sugar. Sap must be collected, stored and boiled down to created syrup. Further boiling to specific temperatures will crystalize the syrup into sugar.

Traditionally Indigenous people used maple syrup to cure meats, as a sweetener for bitter drinks or medicines and as an anesthetic. Maple sugar contains nutritious minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium. Maple sugar was also used as a trade item.

Maple sap runs in the early spring when the day time temperature rises above freezing, yet the nighttime temperatures drop below freezing, during what is called the Sugar Moon (Ziisbaakdoke Dbik Giizis).

video: setting up a tree for harvest


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Tap into Maple

During Tap into Maple, visit Rama First Nation to explore all things maple. Enjoy locally produced maple syrup and products. Stop in at Rama Cannabis (19+ only) for their maple products and discover artwork by local artists.

At Casino Rama Resort, dine with maple at four participating restaurants with special maple offerings. From the Maple Mammoth Burger at the Simcoe Yardhouse, a full 3-course maple menu at St. Germain’s Steakhouse, or Quebec Style Crepes at The Weirs, these mouth-watering dishes are not to be missed.

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