As Canada commemorates its 150th anniversary with hundreds of events scheduled throughout the country this year, here at MOA we are taking advantage of the opportunity to highlight the life-ways and practices of the First People who were living here for millennia before “Canada” even existed. Many First Nations traditions and practices, such as maple harvesting, are still very much alive today and part of the traditions we consider to be quintessentially Canadian.
As part of growing up or living in southern Ontario, most of us enjoy, or have enjoyed at some point in our lives, the opportunity to walk or even ride on a horse drawn-sleigh through a snowy woodlot in late winter, observing the spiles and buckets (or today, the acres of tubes!) hanging from trees, collecting maple sap. An isolated cabin, wood smoke billowing from the chimney and smelling of sweet, caramelised syrup is the highlight of our tour (short for the pancakes!), where sap is boiled in metal kettles or large, flat pans, reducing the liquid after many, many hours to the sweet, sticky, sugary treat that we all know and love.
These traditions that we associate with the Sugar Bush can be traced to First Nations origins, in which families would leave their homes and villages in late winter to set up small camps in the deciduous forest to collect maple (and/or birch, box-elder and white walnut) sap. Trees were scored, sap was collected and reduced. Before metals were introduced to the region from European settlers and traders, sap collection and processing used perishable containers such as wood and bark. Raw sap, rich in nutrients after the lean winter months, was also enjoyed as a tonic and a flavour enhancing base for soups, stews, and porridge. Processed syrup and sugar would preserve the taste of spring long into the year, used to sweeten culinary dishes and drinks and serving as a source of trade and commerce if collected in large enough quantities.
At our Maple Harvest Festival on March 11-12th, we will be honoured to have local First Nations Elders Dan and Mary-Lou Smoke on site to awaken the forest and conduct a sweet water blessing, thanking the trees for their nourishing gift. Anishinaabe Elder Larry McLeod will also be joining us from North Bay to teach us about the importance of birch bark, including its use as a basket to collect and even boil sap. We will also have sagamite, a traditional corn soup/stew made from fresh sap for tasting in the longhouse and an exhibition of archaeological objects relating to First Nations maple harvesting in our museum gallery.
We welcome our visitors to join us in this celebration of spring that has been honoured since time immemorial, the awakening of the forest (in the Forest City!) and the first harvest of the year. This is a festive time, marking an end to hunger and darkness as we welcome the return of light, life, and nourishment from the land around us. We hope to inspire in our visitors a wonder for the unique environment of this region in which maple trees flourish, an awareness of the wisdom and ingenuity of First Nations cultural practices and an appreciation for the rich heritage of Ontario which lies beneath our feet.
Interview with Anne from the +Positive Voice Program at Nokee Kwe
My name is Anne and I am a woman who was lucky and proud to have been a part of the +Positive Voice program. Over the seven weeks I spent with the program’s director Summer and the women, I can truly say was a positive experience.
I have seen many programs for aboriginal woman, but this is a program where I have seen aboriginal woman stand in front of me and praise one another. This is why I wanted to be apart of the second session of +Positive Voice.
On the first day of the program we were asked why we wanted to be in +Positive Voice and my answer was “I heard from the women of the first group it was good, and I want to find my independence and not just be a mom anymore. I want to find me”.
Summer explained everything to us such as how the next seven weeks were to run and who our hopeful guests were to be. She was very coordinated, organized and excited about the second session and us. I can’t complain, I was pretty excited too.
We did a small exercise on the first day with a ball of rope, and we tossed it to whomever saying who we are and something about ourselves. When we were finished, Summer pointed out that we were all connected and that we share a bond. Mentally I laughed it off.
I never really stopped to think about having a true bond with other women until +Positive Voice. The first two weeks I found to be the most challenging for me personally. As it being the beginning of a relationship, especially between five women, my emotions got the best of me. And I am not an emotional person, but the bonding that was happening was intense and I didn’t realise it was taking place until the program was over.
We were introduced to different aspects of art, and artists and it opened my mind so much. I believe I live outside of the bubble, but the way that the artists express themselves is amazing. The colors, contemporary pieces, and stills are mind blowing. Everyone had a different opinion and were not held back from speaking their voice. I am that type of person and I felt like I finally found a piece of me.
We then dove into computers and Memes. I just sat there and looked at Summer with the oddest look ever and then turned to the computer with the same look. I raised my hand and asked the question that my face was giving the look too. and thankfully Summer and my classmates had a week to help me figure out what a Meme was and what I was suppose to do before the next assignment. If it wasn’t for the women I’d still be looking at the binder trying to figure out what a Meme is and how to use Canva. Once I was comfortable with creating Memes, Summer gave us cameras. Christmas came early.
Summer explained how they worked, and we had instructions in both our binders and the cases. For a starter, Summer sent us on a scavenger hunt to get use to the camera to see the different settings . I am also thankful for the other women, because we helped each other learn these technologies.
Now the fun part, taking photos of our own. I can honestly say my face lit up, and I know my soul did. But, with the photos we took, we needed to do a small piece about why we took that photo. Not a novel or anything, just a few words. I got stage fright. I couldn’t take a photo until our first snow fall. And on that beautiful Sunday morning I was up, out my door at 11, grabbed my Tim Hortons and hit the trails with my camera to start taking pictures. I was so happy and full of life, it’s hard to put into words. Walking around looking at nature and just seeing her as she is without noise. I found my peace. I found my stories. Actually they’re not stories, they are my feelings and perception.
+Positive Voice is just that. It doesn’t matter how you look at it, I have learned a lot about myself. I have been taught more then I thought I could learn. I formed a bond with more women in one place then I have in my 42 yrs. And I trust them. How many people can say that and mean it?
Summer has made a difference. Not only in myself. But my family. They see something different, they see the camera in my bag, they hear “I need another picture frame”, and they hear my voice more. Actually a lot of people do.
My dining room has turned into my own little art gallery. My twitter account is starting to grow and I’m more independent. With camera in tow I have my girls. I have me.
At the beginning I had said “I wanted to find me”. Want to know what happened?
I did find me…
I found the old me before I became a wife and mom. Misunderstood, judged, abused, mistreated and tossed aside
I found that I am a mom and I am proud of that and that will never change. My son is my every ounce and fiber. He is my everything and he knows it.
I found that the present me is loving of writing again and passionate about it. And photography is a new passion.
All together, Nokee Kwe has created an outstanding program. I am proud to have this chance to learn more as an adult and as a woman. Strength comes in numbers… And that’s proof from my sisters. Much Love
Welcome to a brand-new year at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology! I am honoured to start my first full year as the new Executive Director at MOA, and I am excited about what 2017 has in store for us. I follow in the footsteps of some incredible people who have had the honour of directing this unique facility, the last of whom – Joan Kanigan – left a strong foundation of policy development and infrastructure renewal that will allow us to begin the first stages of our merger with Sustainable Archaeology, the research and curation facility next door. The integration of SA will allow us to incorporate new and interactive technologies into our galleries and classroom, highlighting some of the innovative archaeological research being done at this state-of-the-art facility.
Interactive technologies related to Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and 3-D imaging will be moving into the gallery over the coming year, beginning with our MOA VRchaeology exhibit opening on January 12th. MOA VRchaeology will transport visitors back 500 years with HTC Vive virtual reality goggles to experience a reconstructed Iroquoian-style longhouse developed by Western Anthropology PhD candidate, Michael Carter. To read more about Mike’s project, which he’s fully documented, check out his blog here, then come out to MOA for this unique experience in person!
Our first temporary exhibit of the year opens on January 26th in partnership with Nokee Kwe Native Learning Centre. The +Positive Voice Program entitled Warrior Womyn: Reclaiming our Identity is an inspiring exhibit promoting positive narratives and memes by urban Aboriginal women who are experiencing a transition to employment/education. This will be followed in April by a temporary exhibit developed in collaboration with Western First Nations Studies. And in August, watch for our take on the year’s sesquicentennial celebrations with an exhibit featuring the negotiated identities of Chief Joseph Brant and Pauline Johnson in the era of Canada’s new confederation.
Do you love maple as much as we do? That sweet – even nutritious! – treat that maple trees reward us with after a cold winter? Then make sure to mark your calendars for the weekend of March 11-12th when we’ll be re-establishing an old event here at the museum to celebrate the Maple Harvest! We’ll be focusing on traditional First Nations’ methods of harvesting and processing this natural resource, and we’ll be offering all sorts of engaging and interactive activities throughout the weekend. And of course, plans are already underway to host our 9th annual Harvest Festival and Pow Wow on September 16-17th in conjunction with London Doors Open. That event will be followed by International Archaeology Day on the 21st of October. Also, watch for us this year out in the community, as we broaden our outreach to provide a contact and gift-shop booth at local and regional events and festivities – stop by to say hi and ask us what is new!
We are also committing to updating our education and outreach programs in 2017. With a newly installed and generously donated Smart Board from Western Ivey Business School, students will have more opportunities for interactive engagement in the classroom. And retired school-teacher Linda Imrie has donated her time and skills to revamping our Edu-kits, catered to augmenting curriculum studies from grades 1-6 – so if you are not able to get your classroom to the Museum to experience our in-house educational programs, please inquire about the availability of these instructive and archaeologically-themed kits!
MOA has a dynamic and dedicated team of Board members, staff and volunteers who continue to work diligently to create a more immersive and engaging experience for visitors of all ages – and we are always looking for volunteers willing to share their time and talents, so if you are interested in joining our team please give us a call! Whether it’s a walk through the gallery to see what’s new, your attendance at a craft workshop or school group, or just a walk along our pathways and woodlot to appreciate and reflect upon the undisturbed archaeological village preserved beneath your feet, we look forward to seeing you in 2017!
This past month, MOA was provided the opportunity to acquire a new artwork collection which includes two artworks by renowned artist Norval Morrisseau: Discipline and Shaman Motifs Mohawk Clan (1975).
Discipline, a colourful serigraph, depicts two larger than life faces in profile nose to nose, almost touching each other in an intense confrontation. Shaman Motifs Mohawk Clan (1975), an original acrylic painting, reveals a unique figure from the waist up filling the entire canvas. He is an intense, bright, and engaging presence.
Norval Morrisseau can be described as one of the most recognisable painters in Canada. Morrisseau is Anishinaabe and was born on the Sandy Point Ojibway reserve. He was the influential founder of the Woodland School of painting. The Woodland School courageously and controversially presented traditional Anishinaabe icons and legends through the Western media of easel painting and printmaking. Morrisseau painted for more than 50 years and inspired many to give a visual voice to their cultural images and stories.
Morrisseau learned the icons and images associated with his grandfather’s knowledge. His grandfather, Moses Potan Nanakonagos, was an Ojibwa shaman who taught him the teachings of the Midewiwin. Oral tradition is a key part of the passing of this knowledge, but Morrisseau became the first Eastern Woodland artist who depicted and presented his culture through art in painting and printmaking.
His artwork drew from several influences during the course of his life and reflected his self-development, culture and spiritual beliefs. His influences include: Indigenous cultures and tensions with Christianity; Anishinaabe decorative arts; Shamanism; Midewiwin scrolls; Rock paintings; Spirituality; The duality of the Soul and Body; Family; and the relationship between all living things.
Morrisseau produced acrylic and oil paintings, prints, and drawings. His artworks are found in numerous institutions and collections across Canada such as The National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, Ontario. His artwork combines intense colours, flowing lines and semi-abstract figures, which can be seen in the two works donated to MOA. He passed away in December 2007.
As mentioned earlier, Discipline is a serigraph, which means that Morrisseau screen-printed it in layers on paper. The bold yellow background would have been printed first, and then the colourful layers of the figures were printed on top. This work is from an edition of 93 prints, which gives a sense of the laborious working process, as well as the unique quality of print-making for distribution. The graphic images created by flat fields of colour is a quality of the print-making process, but is also part of Morrisseau’s own creative way of seeing the world.
The graphic quality of colour defined by shapes, often organic, is also felt in Shaman Motifs Mohawk Clan (1975). This acrylic painting’s bold and commanding figure is created by building bright colours between black outlines. Morrisseau signed his work with Cree syllabics on Shaman Motifs Mohawk Clan, in the pen name for the Anishnaabe name he has been honoured with – Copper Thunderbird.
Morrisseau is an important and influential Anishinaabe painter who has made vibrant pieces about his cultural viewpoint and stories, and they remain filled with life and vitality today.
CBC Arts. “Iconic Canadian painter Norval Morrisseau dies at 75” CBC News, December 5, 2007. Accessed November 25, 2016. http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/iconic-canadian-painter-norval-morrisseau-dies-at-75-1.648773.
Norval Morrisseau Entry. “Biography,” Wikipedia. Accessed November 25, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norval_Morrisseau.
“Teachers Resource Guide,” MacKenzie Art Gallery, p. 15-16, 2013, accessed July 26, 2016, http://www.mackenzieartgallery.ca/admin/aMediaBackend/original?slug=7-pniai-teacher-resource-guide&format=pdf.
MOA is pleased to announce the launch of six new and improved Edukits (for more detailed information on each portion of the Edukit, read our previous post). Teachers and other educators can now rent one or more of these kits designed to offer classroom teachers activities and hands-on materials they can use when developing their Social Studies lesson plans. Each kit has been developed to meet the specific Ontario Curriculum points for grades 1 – 6.
Materials included in each kit are:
Support Booklet for the specific grade
Curriculum Connections Pages
Activity Descriptions and Outcomes
Genuine archaeological artifacts and identification guide
List of additional books, recommended resources, and websites
Kits must be picked up and dropped off at the Museum and can be rented for $50/2-week period. For more information, please call 519-473-1360 or email Katie at email@example.com.
We would like to acknowledge the contributions of our key volunteers who helped update and improve the Edukit; without their efforts, this would not have happened.
Linda Imrie, retired TVDSB teacher:
“I appreciate everything I learned and contributed during my thirty-five year teaching career with the Thames Valley District School Board. I taught students at the primary, junior and intermediate level in the classroom, in special education at W. D. Sutton School in a treatment facility, then as a Learning Support Teacher and finally in a self-contained classroom with Autistic students. In my new life as a volunteer, I have been involved with different associations and groups. Then in April of 2016 after a conversation with the Educational Consultant at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, an opportunity came up to refurbish the existing Edukit. The kit truly needed to be brought up to date and made applicable to meet the needs of today’s student. As a life-long learner, I could not refuse the task of creating six individual Edukits for grades one through six. First I had to weed through the Ontario Social Studies Curriculum and sort out points of relevance for teachers. The next task was to condense the curriculum into words that would make sense in the classroom. Creating the activities and descriptors for each grade level was a task in itself because the content had to coincide with the curriculum. In the final stages of creating the Edukits collaboration took place with a local artist to modernize my logo and with a young expert in sorting and cataloguing artifacts. I believe we came up with an Edukit for teachers and students making Social Studies interactive, educational and fun for use in the classroom. A large focus in the kits is on the First Nations People, but the activities try to go beyond that with many cross-curricular opportunities. It is my hope that the activities will spark an interest in students and teachers to come and visit the Museum. There is a lot to explore at the MOA and a day away makes a wonderful field trip!
It has been my pleasure to work on the Edukits and to hopefully inspire young students to be curious about the world around them, to encourage them to continue asking questions, and most of all to help motivate the learning process.
Yours in education,
Linda Margaret Imrie, M.Ed, Retired Teacher, Thames Valley District School Board (1977-2012)
Christopher Dupon-Martinez, Graphic Design Volunteer:
“Christopher Dupon-Martinez is an illustrator, cartoonist, and designer. He offers solutions for visual problems in the industry of editorial periodicals and publications. Christopher is completing his fourth year at OCAD University studying design and majoring in illustration. In his free time, he enjoys volunteering at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, it allows him the opportunity to continue learning and collaborate in meaningful projects. Learn more about him at his website.”
Madison Keller, Archaeological Interpreter:
We were fortunate to have Madison join us and have her contribute on this project. Madison, a University of Western student, joined us at the Lawson Site Field school this spring and then spent her summer working at the museum.
Editor:Gordon Nicotine-Sands, our 2016 Harvest Festival Pow-Wow Emcee, provides some information below on the origins of a pow-wow and its significance to First Nation’s peoples and some information on each of the dances that you’ll witness. You can find event details at the bottom of the post Key points to know .
What is a Pow-Wow:
The Pow-wow was originally a ceremony (amongst dozens that were designed to give thanks to Creator and the spirits for the many blessings found in everyday life) typically found in the western Plains of North America by many of the First Nation’s who inhabited the area. It is from these ancient practices that the modern day “Pow-wow” derives from, and has made its way to all points in North America. Today, the Pow-wow is a drug/alcohol free celebration of “life” through the expression of song and dance, where all are welcomed. The event is led and given direction by an Emcee, and an “Arena director”, who watches over the dance arena.
At a “Pow-wow” the use of Eagle Feathers (and other items from the eagle) is quite prevalent. First Nations people have governmental exemption (within reason) when it comes to the ownership of eagle feathers. In many Native Creation stories the “eagle” is represented as a messenger from the spirit world, and is also seen as a protector. It is considered an honour by most First Nations to adorn eagle feathers on their outfits, which are given in different ways by a competent individual depending on the territory. For the most part the recipient immediately attempts to take on the responsibility of dedicating their life to teachings set out by their own nation.
The Drum is an integral instrument for any gathering as singers use it to provide music for the event, for mainly the “dancers”, but also for everyone’s enjoyment. The Drum is sacred and considered to be the “heartbeat” of Mother Earth, and in combination with prayer and medicine’s it is said that the drum beat can be heard on the “other” side.
First Nations Men, Women, and Children showcase dance outfits referred to as “regalia”, and dance to various songs. These practises are spiritual-based and are meant to invoke a “spirituality” for everyone in attendance. Many First Nations people believe that these experiences are healthy for your mind/body/and spirit. Good feelings, positivism, and adrenaline are what people typically feel at a “Pow-wow”.
Although not a religious event per-se, (many Native ceremonies are held in First Nation territories and not for public view) several components of the singing and the dancing are considered to be not “man-made” and were given to the people by a higher power. It is this belief system that many participants hold true and keeps them respectful and humble. Through modernization, many Nations throughout North America have contributed several dance and singing styles through sharing and gift-giving. Many dances and song styles also originated in “societies” within First Nations where members were selected for admission based on fulfilling obligations and/or sacrifices. Many of these ‘societies’ still exist several hundred years after their creation. In addition to the singing and dancing, you will also find many authentic Native craft and food stands, friends and families laughing and sharing, and occasionally visiting dignitaries from the local community. Visitors are invited and encouraged to participate at different times in the program where some songs are designated for ALL people; not just First Nations.
Dance Styles and their Meaning that you’ll see at the 2016 Harvest Festival and Pow-Wow
A word on modern day dance styles: Although originally inspired by materials found in nature, some First Nations people have opted to replace many of the natural materials that have been used in outfit creation many years ago with a more durable selection of materials that stand up to the elements along with wear and tear. So it is not unusual to see materials such as yarn, ribbon, leather, metal works, for example, all of which can be found at fabric, and hardware stores, etc. It is the way that Native people fashion these items to their outfits that make them uniquely “First Nations”.
All men dancers use Breach-cloth type bottoms, bells, bead-work, and head pieces called a “roach” which are made from porcupine and deer tail hair.
The Men’s Traditional dance is a “warrior’s” dance that originated from the western plains. The dancers are distinguished by a circular item on the back known as a “bustle’ which is constructed of Eagle Feathers and other materials. The dancer tells the story of the warrior who may be on the hunt, or on the warpath. During this dance you will see the dancer crouching, looking off into the distance, looking at the ground, and forward bursts. The dancers regalia is adorned with items needed for not only battle but also for healing. Although some dancers stay true to ‘tribal’ colours and designs, the outfit is designed to the dancer’s preference. The dance style is accompanied by a slower-to-medium fast drum beat.
The Men’s Grass Dance is a dance that originated in the western plains where the landscape is void of trees and abundant with long grass. There are several origin stories on the dance with some tribes having warrior societies. Some believe that dancers cleared an area of an impending ceremony of all the grass. Others believe that it is a dance of acknowledgement to the power of items in nature such as the sweet-grass, used in nearly ALL native ceremonies. The dancers have long flowing yarn and ribbon on their outfits to mimic that long flowing grass blowing in the wind. It is accompanied by stepping and swaying. The dance style is accompanied by a medium-fast drum beat.
The Men’s Fancy Bustle Dance is another type of warriors dance used by young men and boys, and originated in the southern United States. The dance style is categorized by two “bustles” constructed of white turkey feathers and brightly coloured “hackle” feathers, which are worn at the base of the neck and back. It is an opportunity for young men and boys to showcase just how acrobatic, fast, and athletic they can be, which usually gets the crowds cheering. The dance is of course accompanied by a fast drum beat.
The Women’s Traditional Dance is a dance of honour, respect and inspiration. In many First Nation teachings, women are held in the highest regard. First, and foremost, for being givers of life, but also for other qualities and contributions that bind families and communities together, such as wisdom, strength, and pride. There are several “medicines” such as tobacco, sage, sweet-grass, etc. carried by the dancer. The dance is very stoic, with minimal movement. Typically there is detailed and high quality bead, fabric, ribbon and feather work put into the outfit. The dance is accompanied by a slower to medium-fast drum beat.
The Women’s Jingle Dress Dance originated from the Great Ojibway Nation of Northern Ontario and Minnesota, this special dance is considered to be “healing” in nature. It is believed to be given to the people from the sky-world, as a ceremony to help those who are in need of spiritual lifting. From its creation to modern day, dancers are still called upon whenever there is a member of the Pow-wow circle or community who are in need of spiritual help due to tragic and unfortunate circumstances. Young women who decide to take up the jingle dress dance are handed down protocol and teachings by senior dancers, explaining their roles and responsibilities when wearing the dress. The dress is also unique in its creation in that metal cones are fixating to the dress to create a “shook” type of sound which is said to be heard on the “other” side, just like the “drum”.
The Women’s Fancy Shawl Dance is relatively modern, and is a way for women to showcase how athletic, fast and light footed they can be. It has been nicknamed the ‘butterfly’ dance because of the wide and colourful shawl worn by the dancer. Emphasis is also put on the outfit design, with plenty of detailed, colourful and eye-catching patterns used in the ribbon and material work. It is unique in the way that it is the only dance style that doesn’t employ noisemakers, such as bells or jingles.
Editor: Our thanks to Gordon for his contribution to the blog and for providing such great information. For the event details and to stay current right up to your visit, head on over to our Pow-Wow site and bookmark it for future reference. You could always sign up to our e-newsletter and stay abreast of all the museum’s activities.
Key Points to Know:
Plans are underway for our 9th Annual Harvest Festival and Pow-Wow taking place September 17 & 18, 2016.
Event highlights each day include:
traditional singers, dancers and drummers
cultural teachings, workshops and demonstrations by local First Nation’s artists
This article, part 3 of this history series, was previously published in the Puslinch Pioneer, 2015 and re-printed here with permission from the author, Marjorie Clark and PuslinchToday
The Huron First Nation called their southern neighbours “Attawandaron”, meaning “People of a slightly different language”. The French labelled those same people “Neutrals”, as they remained neutral between the Huron and Iroquois.
The Attawandaron or Neutrals inhabited dozens of villages in Southwestern Ontario stretching along the north shore of Lake Erie from the Niagara Peninsula to the Detroit River, perhaps as far north as Toronto in the east and Goderich in the west.
A semi-nomadic society, the Neutrals lived in villages, which would usually be abandoned after about twenty years. When the game, the soil and the wood in an area became depleted, the area would be left to regenerate and the village would relocate to a new spot. The largest Neutral village site in Wellington County and perhaps in Ontario, covering thirteen acres, was in the Badenoch section of Puslinch, on the east side of Morriston, lot 32, concession 8. The other one situated within the Badenoch area was on lot 28, rear of concession 8, the former McPhee farm.
In 1615-1623, some of Samuel de Champlain’s men travelled south from Midland to meet the Neutrals and in 1625-1626, Etienne Brulé spent the winter among them. A Récollet priest, Father Joseph de la Roche Daillon described them in a letter dated July 18, 1627. At the time, there were approximately 40,000 Neutrals.
In the autumn of 1650 & spring of 1651, the Iroquois tribes from the south, that is, the Mohawks, Onondaga and Seneca, armed with guns given them by the Dutch in New York State, nearly annihilated the Neutrals. Some were carried off as captives and were assimilated into the Seneca. Those who remained fell victim to diseases like smallpox and measles, which had been introduced by European emigrants or were assimilated by surrounding tribes. After that, this area was frequented by Mississauga on hunting parties. The Mississauga were still in the area after the arrival of the European settlers and our ancestors in Puslinch interacted with them.
Although they had lived in harmony with nature and did not significantly alter the landscape, the Neutral Nation left shreds of evidence of their civilization, which have and are still emerging from the earth. Throughout the years, farmers would pick up artefacts that surfaced in their fields, while ploughing. My uncle, John Clark (1908-2000), who was born and raised on a farm, adjacent to the McPhee site and who farmed across the road from it in adult life, collected arrowheads and skinning stones throughout his lifetime.
In 1982, Ken Oldridge, a teacher at John F. Ross Collegiate Institute in Guelph learned of John Clark’s collection from his student, Richard Ussher, who was John Clark’s grandson. At the time, Ken Oldridge was the Regional Vice-President of the Ontario Archaeological Society and Archaeological Conservation Representative for the Ministry of Citizenship & Culture. John showed the artefacts and the locations, where he found them, to Ken Oldridge. This created a flurry of activity and during the summers of 1983-85, digs on the sites were funded. The result was a significant enrichment of our society’s knowledge of the people, who preceded us on this land.
The 1st excavation took place on McPhee farm, owned by Raymond Reid at the time of the archaeological dig in summer 1983. A 500 year old village site, inhabited by about 1,000 people around 1500-1530 AD, was located. It covered 3½ to 4 acres. Ken Oldridge was project director and the site co-ordinator was Bill Fitzgerald, a PhD student at McGill. The dig was visited by archaeologists from the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph, some 50 members of the Ontario Archaeological Society, James Schroder, M.P. and Aberfoyle School Principal, Fred Dack and teachers. Ken Oldridge was guest speaker at one of the first meetings of the Puslinch Historical Society, held on April 2, 1984.
The Morriston or Elliot site was excavated in 1984-85. This village covered 13 acres, with 4,000 inhabitants. It existed for approximately 20 years, around 1450-1500. The village was constructed about 50 metres from a spring. The longhouses were 200 to 300 ft long, 2 ½ metres apart and appeared more structurally sound than those at the McPhee village. Bob Penrice (1906-1985), who farmed south of Morriston, had a collection, which contained a 7,000-year-old Stanley stem from the Morriston area. Ontario Hydro was forced to map a new route for its transmission towers, which had been slated to be erected through here, due to this discovery.
Three sites were identified in the vicinity of Crieff. Artefacts found on lot 20, rear of the Gore, the farm belonging to Donald A. Stewart (1903-1991), indicate the sites were used in 3,000 to 5,000 BC. Andy Scott’s collection from his farm, lot 26, rear of the Gore, was one of the best collections in Wellington County, with some items dating back as far as 8,000 years. The Crieff sites were within hunting and fishing area for the Attawandaron, which probably extended as far west as Puslinch Lake, where Winfield Brewster of Hespeler reported finds. Andy Scott (1901-1984) remarked that artefacts were to be found on his and every farm for three or four miles along the 1st concession road.
In January 1989, Catherine and Maurice Smith, on behalf of Margaret Starkey, donated a collection of 17 artefacts from 600 to 9,000 years old to the Wellington County School Board. These items were found by hired man, Willie Fraser (1870-1961), around 1900, on the farm owned by Richard and Jim Starkey of Arkell, part of lots 7, 8, and 9, con. 10,
Would you like to know more about the Attawandaron? “The Neutral Indians of South-Western Ontario” by Elsie McLeod Jury, is available to read in the archive of the Puslinch Historical Society, as well as information on the Puslinch sites.
PuslinchToday would like to thank Marjorie Clark for her contributions. This three part series of history articles has been extremely popular on the site and we look forward to all her future work.
This article, part 3 of this history series, was previously published in the Puslinch Pioneer, 2015 and re-printed here with permission from the author, Marjorie Clark and PuslinchToday
Shekoli/Hello, my name is Dakota (Kalo:loks) Ireland.
I do a lot of different beadwork, but mostly jewelry such as rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces/medallions. The main beading style that I use is peyote stitch (also known as gourd stitch) and it is a particular style of weaving.
I come from the Oneida Nation of the Thames and my clan is Bear. I have been working with the Museum of Ontario Archaeology for two and a half years now. I was the curator for The Story of Our Grandfathers: Our Original Medicine exhibition from May-August 2014 and the assistant curator for the On^yota’a:ka: ukwehuwenekha’ khale’/miinwaa Anishinaabemowin language exhibition that is currently on display at the museum.
The peyote stitch was originally used by the Kiowa and Comanche tribes from the South. It is similar to the brick stitch where only one bead is used at a time. Each First Nation tribe has their own signature style of beadwork. I am not using the style of beadwork that comes from my people. I learned the peyote style of beadwork because I like it. Being able to share amongst each other is how traditions get passed on. It is important to acknowledge where the original style or craft comes from.
The Peyote stitch can be used for many different things – decorating pipes, drum sticks, whistles, and lighters. It can also be made into jewelry like rings, bracelets, and earrings. Since using this style of beading can be time-consuming, it is best to start with rings, bracelets, or decorating around something small like a lighter. The video will show you the basic stitch of peyote style. Once you have the basic stitch down, then the possibilities are endless with what you can do with it!
It is during times of beading when we share stories, sing, or just be in tranquility. It is important to put good energies and love into your beaded project!
I find that beading is calming and therapeutic. It is a great way to relieve stress and calm the mind. I love beading! I would like to share the joy of beading and will be planning a workshop at the museum in the future. Before the workshop, I will be offering a drop-in beading session on Sunday, June 5th. If you have any questions, want to see the style, or try it out before signing up for a workshop, feel free to drop by! If you are interested in taking part in a workshop, please CLICK HERE to let us know and we’ll be sure to let you know when the workshop is scheduled.
The MOA Educational Kit (“Edu-Kit” for short) is full of resources and artifacts that anyone can rent. Containing over 30 artifacts, a teacher’s guide, and reading resources, the Edu-Kit is an excellent tool for elementary school teachers, homeschooling groups, or youth groups with an interest in history and archaeology. It’s great for exploratory learning and is a way to bring the museum into your classroom.
Starting with the Resource Guide is the best way to get the most our of the Edu-Kit. The Guide provides a stress-free way to use the Edu-Kit materials in your group. Lesson plans on First Nations History and Archaeology are included along with customizable PowerPoint slides on a USB drive and artifact identification tools. The Guide also includes additional history information for grades 6-8 or advanced learners, worksheets, and activity pages, along with First Nations myths and legends, and project ideas.
In addition to the Guide, the Edu-Kit includes a variety of books suitable for learners from 6 to 14 years old. The books are full of different materials you can use to complement the lesson plans in the guide and include colouring pages, traditional songs, historical information, a biography of the Jury Family, and research materials for archaeology and history projects.
The most exciting part of the Edu-Kit- the artifacts. Each of the artifacts is a genuine, irreplaceable piece of history and date from the Paleo-Indian Period (11000-9000 B.C.E.) to the Late/Terminal Woodland Period (900-1600 C.E.), and vary in material and purpose. The kit includes artifacts such as pottery sherds, ceramic pipes, animal bone ornaments, and stone projectile points.
The Edu-kit is ideal for students who work at their own pace and is also an excellent option for groups on a tight budget. The EduKit is available to rent for $50/2 weeks. If you are interested in renting our Educational Kit, contact Katie, our Learning Coordinator.
The Creator gifted each human being with a voice and language to use. Indigenous languages are verb-based rather than noun-based. They tend to describe people, places, and things instead of labelling them. Within southern Ontario, Indigenous languages are no longer peoples’ mother tongue. However, more Indigenous people are revitalizing and preserving their languages. Indigenous languages carry a peoples’ culture and whole philosophy in life. This is why it is so crucial to keep Indigenous languages alive. Many Indigenous people have lost some of their ways and traditions, so the best approach to retaining knowledge and tradition is to relearn their language.
Shekoli/aanii/hello, the Museum of Ontario Archaeology will be incorporating a new exhibition focused on Indigenous languages. The Onʌyota’a·ká· (Oneida) and Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) languages will be highlighted within this new feature exhibition. The curator at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, Nicole Aszalos, had approached me and asked if I could assist her in putting together an exhibition on Indigenous languages. I had agreed to help since it is in my line of work. I have a passion for our Indigenous languages because it is in my blood – it is a part of who I am. My primary focus is on Oneida language right now, and I thought it would be a great idea to include another Indigenous language since we are all so diverse. I asked Monty McGahey to do an Ojibwe language piece for the exhibition, since he is knowledgeable and works within his community, Chippewa of the Thames, on keeping the language alive
A Previous Exhibit.
I had curated The Story of Our “Grandfathers”: Our Original Medicines previously for the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. By taking that experience and working with language, I had come up with an interesting idea to convey Indigenous languages without strictly text. It is interesting, fun, and educational, not only in Indigenous languages but also about the past and present interactions between different Indigenous nations. Within Indigenous languages, there is no past, present, or future; it is all inclusive of each other. This is why there is a past feel but with a present sense within this new exhibition.
I encourage everyone to come and check it out. It opened this month and will be on until February 2018.