As one might expect, throughout the history of this land, the greater Toronto area was home to several Nations of Indigenous Peoples, namely the Erie/Neutral (Erie: “people of the Cat Nation”), and evidence of their village life still remain in some areas. Most of these sites have been destroyed from the developments of the city during the past two centuries; however, some sites still remain intact. When they bcame uncovered, and are rediscovered either by passers-by or by construction crews, archaeologists and Indigenous Peoples are to be contacted and consulted.
In High Park, fifty seven such mounds have been identified. These are not village sites; they are burial mound sites. Burial Mound Earthworks were built by the Erie/Neutral and Iroquois as by their predecessors the Hopia (Hopewell). The Anishnabe were a group of northern Indigenous peoples who were nomadic and did not traditonally live on land that would support building earthworks, as they lived north of the Canadian shield.
Two sites in particular are quite outstanding, but for different reasons. One is exposed and unprotected by vegetation, and so is easily viewed and accessed, and therein lies the problem (Bear Mound Complex): because it is not naturally protected, it is open to wear and tear from pedestrian traffic. The Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of culture, has deemed it an archaeological site (AjGu-45), in 2003. Another one of the other 56 sites, has been almost totally destroyed due to off-road bike enthusiasts, who unwittingly and illegally created an off road bike jump course at the southeastern corner of the park on the Snake/Serpent Mound.
- Snake Mound Red Ochre 3
Pottery Pieces from Bear Mound Survey