“I was asked which indigenous language I speak. I speak Michif but I am fluent in a more Universal language. The language that the forest and all its inhabitants; flora, fungus, fauna, animal, etc.) speak. One that humankind must relearn if we are to have a future on our Mother Earth.”

~ Mahigan

Latest News:


April, 2023 - Turtle Island Institute is leading a journey to live into the sophistication and scientific application of Indigenous knowledge systems. Join us for a 13 moon immersive experience into Metuaptmumk.

Watch on Vimeo

Map of prominent Indigenous
trade routes in Turtle Island
Map of prominent Indigenous trade routes in Turtle Island
(click for larger image)

The architecture of the great connector

Marcel will be building a canoe in September 2019 at the McEwen School of Architecture. This canoe will be part of a convoy of three canoes retracing historic Indigenous trade routes from the Akikodjiwan Falls (Chaudière Falls) in present day Ottawa down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Click here for more information

*NEW* Read a well written story about cultural revitalization at Temagami First Nation. Click for Article

July 6, 2017: Watch a video of the launch: Click here for article and video
July 2, 2017: Read about the launch of the "Indian Act 2017" canoe and the message it brings: Click here for article

June 29, 2017: The "Indian Act 2017" messenger canoe will be unveiled on Canada Day in Prince George.

For more information view the following links:
Multicultural Society 2017 Program
Affiche Canada 150
Canada Day 150 Poster

Hear Marcel's interview on Ottawa Morning: Canoe Building

Marcel guided the creation of a canoe that was gifted to a major donor: School of architecture celebrates grand opening

Reimagine your relationship with Indigenous people by taking time to learn and assist in the construction of a birch-bark canoe on the uOttawa campus. View Schedule
Latest Updates:

LAURENTIAN SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE – Building Birch Bark Canoes the Old-Fashioned Way!
Click here to read the article

CTV Northern Ontario: The Canoe Project

Sacred Ceremony in Sudbury

Teaching architecture students to understand their work through canoe building:
Laurentian architecture student-built canoes on display
[click here for PDF version]

Learning From our Elders Gathering Oct 18-19, 2014 - Marcel was at this year's Elder's Gathering. An experience alongside elders and traditional knowledge keepers, authentic teachings on the historical, cultural and spiritual significance of Storytelling, Drumming, Sweats, Pipe Ceremonies, Sunrise Ceremonies, Smudging, Talking Circles and more: a holistic approach to teaching and learning -- renewing and educational.
Click here for more information

The McMichael Gallery - Sunday, March 9, 2014. Marcel participated in the March Break fun with replica birch bark canoe workshops and the screening of his documentary "The Art of Being Métis: Through the Teaching of the Canoe."
For more details click here

Press Release:
McMichael Partners with Federal Government to Highlight Canada’s Francophone and Métis Heritage

Brampton Guardian Nov 1, 2013 - Aboriginal studies transforming the culture of traditional education
[click here for PDF version]

Pan Am 2015 in Toronto: Marcel at the 2 year countdown event

Read the article about Marcel from Metis Voyager magazine: Metis Craft at Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery: Nishi - a 4 foot canoe

New gallery: The OAC 2012 Aboriginal Arts Education Project "Teaching from the Knowledge Canoe"

Documentary Brochure: About being Metis

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Birch Bark Canoes by Mahigan
Marcel Labelle is proud of his Metis heritage. His mother is Iroquois and French and his father is Algonquin and French. Marcel grew up in Northern Ontario and spent most of his childhood on the trap line. This is where he learned how to live with and from the forest. Today he builds traditional Birch Bark Canoes and demonstrates his craft at many venues. He also instructs a course in the Indigenous Studies field at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. He is supported by the Metis Nation of Ontario through their Training Initiatives Program. He is also the recipient of an 2008 OAC(Ontario Arts Council) Aboriginal Arts Projects grant towards Birch Bark Canoe Building. He received the highest individual amount for an OAC grant recipient Aboriginal Arts Project, 2009.
The Art of Storytelling

February 25, 26 and 27th, 2010 Marcel was asked to speak at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York City.
  1. Smithsonian Museum Story
  2. Mahigan shares his knowledge at the Smithsonian (article)

School Demonstrations
Invite Marcel into your school to speak to your students about his Metis way of life.
Special Events
Come out and meet Marcel at one of the many events that he attends each year.
Event Galleries
View pictures and information for Marcel's past appearances


Marcel Labelle