Near a swamp surrounded by trees, Mathieu O'Bomsawin stands on a lookout. He's wearing jeans and a white shirt with a leaf pattern. An interpretation panel is on his right. A cloudy sky allows for a glimpse of sun.
Kway! Hello! My name is Mathieu O’Bomsawin and I’m the director of the Abenaki Museum. And here, we find ourselves in the commune, uh, which is actually the community’s woodland... And, in fact, I... I wanted to share with you, in fact, my experience in the commune because ever since I was a very young child, uh, I visit this place with my grandfather who often brought me here on the trail to discover this very forest. And what’s special about this forest is that there’s a legend associated with the place, called the Legend of Odasquine.
In fact, Odasquine, is, uh, an Abenaki who was born with little horns on his forehead, hence his name. Because, in Abenaki, odasquine means “horned head”. And when Odasquine was born... people, during his childhood, feared him. Women and children were afraid of him. And men fled him.
So eventually, Odasquine was so, uh, tired of being intimidated and frightful of these people, that he decided to take refuge in this very forest: the commune's forest.
Mathieu heads towards the entrance of the belvedere.
And Odasquine was solitary so, he decided to settle here. And he decided to seclude himself from the community. That’s when he decided to build his own wigwam himself near a spring that’s still known as “the Odasquine spring”, which is a source of water, a source of, uh, underground drinking water. And, uh, he decided to live there all his life, in the commune.
Throughout his lifetime, people still visited him because he developed a very particular knowledge of, of all the natural resources of the commune. Whether it be plants, trees, medicinal plants, game as well. So that's how he, he survived in the woods here. And, uh, Odasquine, uh, in doing so became a medicine man.
He returns to the interpretation panel.
So, a “medicine man” who prepared remedies for the... the people of the community... Despite the fact that, he had been excluded from the community, he always cared about, uh, the people of his community. And that's, uh, how people kept visiting him in the woods here, to come and get medicine.
Uh, my grandfather told me that, one fine October day it seems that, uh, people got to his place, the place where he had settled, that it was actually a kind of... When you get to the commu... in the woods, you notice a very deep circle that seemed to be the location of his wigwam. And when they got there, they realized that Odasquine had left. Well, we never heard about what had happened, just that he decided to leave the community and, even to this day, the place is still called, uh, Odasquine, in honour of this individual who lived all his life in the commune.
He moves close to the stairs at the entrance of the belvedere.
Today, uh, we’ve turned it into an interpretation trail on medicinal plants in honour of Odasquine. Since, uh, the commune, the woods, is so rich in medicinal plants, we decided to turn it into an interpretation trail. Uh, what we'll do, what we'll see on the 1.2 km trail, it's really plants that will, uh, be interpreted, so, according to traditional Abenaki medicine. And people will be able to identify the characteristics, uh, of each of these plants.
Presently, uh, we, we’ve made it a tourist attraction, but it still remains a place that’s very... that holds a lot of attachment for the members of the community, uh, these woods that have always remained a property of the community.
So, uh, now, I invite you to come and discover this trail and to maybe also discover... and locate the place where Odasquine lived. Well, we hope to see you! And once again, I invite you to come and visit this trail rich in knowledge and content. Now then, I invite you to follow me down the trail!
Mathieu leaves the lookout, follows the trail and disappears into the forest.