Making the Carry
by Timothy Cochran
An extraordinary illustrated biography of a Métis man and Anishinaabe woman navigating great changes in their homeland along the U.S.–Canada border in the early twentieth century.
John Linklater, of Anishinaabeg, Cree, and Scottish ancestry, and his wife, Tchi-Ki-Wis, of the Lac La Croix First Nation, lived in the canoe and border country of Ontario and Minnesota from the 1870s until the 1930s. During that time, the couple experienced radical upheavals in the Quetico–Superior region, including the cutting of white and red pine forests, the creation of Indian reserves/reservations and conservation areas, and the rise of towns, tourism, and mining. With broad geographical sweep, historical significance, and biographical depth, Making the Carry tells their story, overlooked for far too long. John Linklater, a renowned game warden and skilled woodsman, was also the bearer of traditional ecological knowledge and Indigenous heritage, both of which he was deeply committed to teaching others. He was sought by professors, newspaper reporters, museum personnel, and conservationists—among them Sigurd Olson, who considered Linklater a mentor. Tchi-Ki-Wis, an extraordinary craftswoman, made a sweeping array of necessary yet beautiful objects, from sled dog harnesses to moose calls to birch bark canoes. She was an expert weaver of large Anishinaabeg cedar bark mats with complicated geometric designs, a virtually lost art. Making the Carry traces the routes by which the couple came to live on Basswood Lake on the international border. John’s Métis ancestors with deep Hudson’s Bay Company roots originally came from Orkney Islands, Scotland, by way of Hudson Bay and Red River, or what is now Winnipeg. His family lived in Manitoba, northwest Ontario, northern Minnesota, and, in the case ofJohn and Tchi-Ki-Wis, on Isle Royale. A journey through little-known Canadian history, the book provides an intimate portrait of Métis people. Complete with rarely seen photographs of activities from dog mushing to guiding to lumbering, as well as of many objects made by Tchi-Ki-Wis, such as canoes, moccasins, and cedar mats, Making the Carry is a window on a traditional way of life and a restoration of two fascinating Indigenous people to their rightful place in our collective past.
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