Forest Lore: Wisqoq

What do you know about Wisqoq, or black ash?

For the Mi'kmaq, Wisqoq has always been a very important part of their history and culture. It was, and still is, used to make axe handles, snowshoe frames, canoe ribs, and baskets because it is flexible and strong. Legend has it that Glooscap himself shot arrows into the great Wisqoq and the Mi'kmaw people came out signing and dancing. In Nova Scotia, black ash is a threatened species thanks to the emerald ash borer, an invasive species from Asia. Check out the Wisqoq recovery website www.wisqoq.ca to learn more about the significance of Wisqoq in Mi'kmaq culture and how you can help in the recovery of this important tree.

All photos courtesy of: wisqoq.ca and the Nova Scotia Archives

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Three Mi'kmaq women holding woodsplint baskets" ca. 1890

Three Mi'kmaq women holding woodsplint baskets" ca. 1890

Mi'kmaq group with baskets in front of wigwam, Chester" ca. 1910

Mi'kmaq group with baskets in front of wigwam, Chester" ca. 1910

A printed postcard of two Mi’kmaq children from Baie Ste-Marie, Nova Scotia. Circa 1910

A printed postcard of two Mi’kmaq children from Baie Ste-Marie, Nova Scotia. Circa 1910

Photo postcard of Mi’kmaq chief Noel and his wife. Between them is a display of their baskets. Circa 1910

Photo postcard of Mi’kmaq chief Noel and his wife. Between them is a display of their baskets. Circa 1910