TEMAGAMI NED 

"Both-ends-of-the-day"

Photo:                                                                      Photo: Ralph Root Temagami Ned is sitting in the stern of his birchbark canoe in 1911 on Lake Temagami

                                                                                         Photo: Ralph Root

Temagami Ned is sitting in the stern of his birchbark canoe in 1911. At the time of the photo he was in 60s. Ned stood five feet tall and had thick, white hair.

Ned White Bear, or Temagami Ned as he was known among the whites, was a member of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai. He became well known around Lake Temagami to non-aboriginal people because he would seek them out so he could practice his English. He would pose for their pictures with his sailing birchbark canoe and tell stories, and maybe get a cigar in return. Donald McKenzie, a fellow Teme-Augama, remembered that when the wind blew from the north, everyone knew that Ned would be sailing to Camp White Bear. When the wind changed direction and blew from the southwest, everyone knew that Ned would be sailing home. 

Photo: Temagami Ned with wife

                                                                                  Photo: Archives of Ontario

He would become one of Grey Owl's (then Archie Belaney) closest Teme-Augama friends. He was also the great-uncle of Archie's wife Angele. Grey Owl would later describe him in The Men of the Last Frontier:

One old man of the Ojibway with the prolonged name of Neejin-nekai-apeechi-geejiguk, or to make a long story short, "Both-ends-of-the-day"... was a man to whom none could listen without attention, and was a living link with a past of which only too little is known. Although he died in distressing circumstances a good many years ago, I remember him well, as I last saw him; straight as an arrow and active as a young man in spite of his years, he had an unusually developed faculty for seeing in the dark, which accounts for his name, which inferred that day and night were all one to him. I recollect that he carried an alarm clock inside his shirt for a watch, and when once, at a dance, he fell asleep, some mischievous youngster set the alarm, and he created the diversion of the evening when the sudden racket within his shirt woke him up. In reality the first touch of the little urchin had awakened him, but he purposely feigned continued sleep till the alarm should go off, for he had a keen sense of humour, which Indians possess more often than they get credit for."

 

Sources: The Men of the Last Frontier by Grey Owl, Keewaydin Archives, From the Land of Shadows by Donald B. Smith, Mae Katt, Mary Katt.

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