Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

"Old Copper" in Manitoba

"Old Copper" in Manitoba
Installed 1986
Nutimik Lake Museum, PR 307
Whiteshell Provincial Park

The prehistoric manufacture of tools, weapons, and ornaments from native copper was a tradition that was introduced into Manitoba at least 4,000 years ago. The raw metal came from lands about the shores of Lake Superior. The copper was hammered into shape using stone cobbles and mallets; occasional exposure to heat during manufacturing rendered the material less brittle. While many finished artifacts were no doubt traded or carried into Manitoba from elsewhere, others were made locally by craftsmen who acquired the raw metal from its place of origin to the southeast.

Old copper artifacts have been found in the boreal forest, aspen parkland, and grasslands of southern Manitoba. The Red and Winnipeg rivers are believed to have been critical links in the major trade and migration routes from the heartland of Old Copper culture in Wisconsin.