Our SCOUT: OO7 Collective revisits a nameless monument

photo by Rosalie Favell

photo by Rosalie Favell

From OO7 Collective artists statement:

There was much controversy surrounding the Anishinaabe Scout who used to sit at the base of the Champlain monument on Nepean Point in Ottawa. The Assembly of First Nations (AFN), under former National Chief Ovide Mercredi, felt that the Hamilton McCarthy sculpture was racist and derogatory and he lobbied the Federal Government (National Capital Commission) to have the Scout removed – yet there was also another Aboriginal camp including artists who disagreed with AFN’s position and felt the removal of the Scout would only rewrite and further subvert this racist colonial history. At the same time, there was a joke that began to circulate that Champlain actually needed the Scout, because the famous explorer is holding the astrolabe navigation device upside down (McCarthy got it wrong). So without the Scout, Champlain had no idea where he was actually going.blink with Champlain

In the end the National Capital Commission dismantled Hamilton McCarthy’s sculpture and relocated the Scout to a small patch of reserve-like land in Major’s Hill Park outside of Blink Gallery, yet ironically, he is still below the horizon-line of the Champlain monument (and arguably still subservient in a mythical hinterland). So the Anishinaabe Scout remains awkwardly isolated and even more out of historical, artistic and political context, surrounded by tall prairie-like grass and trapped in a stereotypical stasis. Wh o won? No one – I think? For the issue has certainly never been resolved and will more-than-likely remain so. For many Anishinaabeg, the Scout is our metaphorical Unknown Warrior, and he now sits in stoic anonymity not too far from the tomb of Unknown Soldier who rests at the base of Canada’s National War Memorial. 

This exhibition pays tribute to our Scout and revives those issues of controversy.


The OO7 (Ottawa Ontario 7) Collective is made up of emerging, mid-career and established artists whose objective is to present new work outside the context of the established gallery. By exhibiting work outside a traditional, curated space and without the structured support of grants, the collective allows its members’ very diverse works to be exhibited together — something which might otherwise remain a rarity.

The OO7 Collective includes artists Barry Ace, Ron Noganosh, Frank Shebageget, Ariel Smith, Ehren ‘Bear Witness’ Thomas, Leo Yerxa and Rosalie Favell. And for this “SCOUT” exhibition, the Collective welcomes local artist Howard Adler as a “Special Agent” who has had a 6 month placement in the Collective’s Gammon House studio space.

FaceBook link https://www.facebook.com/events/283067621835264/?notif_t=plan_user_joined

SCOUT – A 007 Art Exhibition   DETAILS of Exhibit/Performance/Naming Ceremony

*With Special Gammon House Agent Howard Adler


Thursday August 22, 6-9pm

*Elder Annie Saint-Georges will be in attendance at the opening to conduct a special naming ceremony for the “Unknown Anishinaabe Scout”!


August 22 to September 1

(Gallery Hours – Fri/Sat/Sun noon to 5pm)


BLINK Gallery is across the street from the National Gallery of Canada, in the heritage building known as Header House. It has pedestrian access only. You’ll find BLINK tucked in the back of Major’s Hill Park directly across from the National Gallery, at the foot of the Alexandra Bridge.


For more on this subject see Claudette Lauzon paper: Jeff Thomas Seizes Commemorative Space  http://www.academia.edu/1185302/Monumental_Interventions_Jeff_Thomas_Seizes_Commemorative_Space

and Picture and Witness at the Site of the Wilderness by Jonathan Bardo: http://www.trentu.ca/culturalstudies/documents/PictureandWitnessCI.pdf

Algonquin History in the Ottawa River Watershed  http://www.thealgonquinway.ca/pdf/algonquin-history.pdf

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