Bloodvein and the Boreal Forest


Bloodvein and the Boreal Forest


The ingredients for todays soup are Jeff McKay and Dodie. Norm added the wookie, taste not so good.  Martina Fisher and William Young, owner of the Bloodvein River Lodge where we are staying. All together, in this Boreal Blog.

Bloodvein First Nation, north of Winnipeg in the clean air of Canada’s Boreal forest system sits on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. Bloodvein joins hands with the other First Nations of Pauingassi, Little Grand Rapids, Pikangikum and Poplar River to enrich the world with their cultural learning and deep love of nature. This forms the land of Pimachiowin Aki or Land That Gives Life. It will, soon, hopefully be a UNESCO world heritage site.

The Bloodvein River, in Canada's Boreal Forest.

The Bloodvein River, in Canada’s Boreal Forest.

To learn about Pimachiowin Aki and the bid to become an UNESCO world heritage site click here

Early this morning from the deck of the lodge I saw a painter’s sky. The dawn filled the eastern horizon with a great blob of rose, that spread itself into the water and brindled the trees with a flush of blood red fresh from the circulation of the sun. All the world in front of me was face-painted, waiting for the passage of the day. An otter broke the magic, just to look.

Martina Fisher of Bloodvein and Diana enjoy the mid September sunshine from William Young's boat.

Martina Fisher of Bloodvein and Diana enjoy the mid September sunshine from William Young’s boat.

We crossed the lake the day before, not by regular ferry, which seemed to be appointed to carry an extra freight of oil and we were out of luck. Instead we loaded all the gear into William’s boat, which sank considerably deeper in the water. Crossed our fingers, put on life jackets. I had forgotten my water wings and we aimed our noses, and there were five of them, towards the great stretch of water in front of us, hoping we would not have to swim. The weather was changing and William opened the throttle to full speed ahead….


Martina Fisher, of Bloodvein, joined us for the shoot. We talked about culture and the loss of it. Again I am struck by the similarities between the Laws of the Land here and the ancient Irish. We laughed and joked a lot. Behind the jokes was a wall of pain caused by forcing the Christian religion down the throat of the children of the First Nations, by threat, sheer brutal force, violence, sexual savagery and the forever pit and pendulum of going to hell in a hand basket.

Set up to shoot to shoot at the rapids on the Bloodvein River with Martina Fisher

Set up to shoot to shoot at the rapids on the Bloodvein River with Martina Fisher


Let me describe the paradise of Bloodvein. We went for a shoot to Eagle’s Nest. It is a huge rapid system on the waterway. Yes, there were eagles. Yes, there were otter pups and the river was lined with beds of wild rice clinging to the shore, Zizania palustris. Blackbirds and waterfowl were in a struggle to eat the ripe rice grains. Fish were just visitors to the scene overhead.


The river was lined with a green wall of undisturbed native boreal forest. The biodiversity of nature’s hand was everywhere. Pines, poplars, birch and the occasional oak dripped with little ones in mossy cradles at their feet. Lichens logged the long haul in the dead trees, in between the long runs of carpet in the forest floor. Moose and caribou live here in a splendid harmony with the land. And so do people. And so did I.

Stay tuned for more from Bloodvein River and the Boreal Forest in northern Manitoba…

2 Responses

  1. Dodie McKay

    Thank you for sharing your photos Don, they are beautiful. The more understanding people have of this area means we have a better chance at preserving it.

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