As the warm spring weather arrives, Indigenous families harvest maple water. They spread out in the maple forest to collect the water and bring it to the camp.
The trunk of the maple trees is carved with an axe. A cedar gutter allows the sap to flow into small birch bark crates.
Large bark containers are filled with water into which hot stones are added to concentrate the sap.
After this spring harvest, several members from different Nations are preparing for a big summer gathering on the Bic Islands. Everyone collects their items to participate in the trade.
This custom allows people to access new resources. The Wolostok people, coming from the Saint John River, known as the "beautiful river," bring caribou skins and chert blocks to make tools and weapons.
The Mi'kmaq from the Gaspé peninsula and the Maritimes bring small marine mammal skins and smoked mackerel.
Other First Nations from further south, such as the Abenaki and the Iroquoians from the Quebec region, then called Stadaconans, bring clay pots and corn.
The Innu of the North Shore bring snowshoes and seal skins as well as lithic material, meaning rocks, from Labrador to make tools.
The trading tradition also creates an opportunity to divide the winter hunting grounds, to celebrate marriage alliances and to calm rivalries between Nations. The exchanges begin with diplomatic rituals of reconciliation.
The Indigenous people smoke tobacco in stone pipes and give each other presents, including wampum necklaces. A meat stew, called sagamité, and bannock, a bread baked over the fire, are prepared. Dancing, singing and drumming enliven the celebration.