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Old Man’s Playing Ground

Old Man’s Playing Ground
Gaming and Trade on the Plains/Plateau Frontier

By Gabriel Yanicki, with contributions from Allan Pard, Henry Holloway and Art Calling Last
April 2014, ISBN 978-0-7766-2138-8
Mercury Series, Archaeology Paper 173
271 pp., 81 illustrations, 17 x 24 cm, paperback
$65 (English only)
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When Hudson’s Bay Company surveyor Peter Fidler made contact with the Ktunaxa at the Gap of the Oldman River in the winter of 1792, his Piikáni guides brought him to the river’s namesake. These were the playing grounds where Napi, or Old Man, taught the various nations how to play a game as a way of making peace. In the centuries since, travellers, adventurers, and scholars have recorded several accounts of Old Man’s Playing Ground and of the hoop-and-arrow game that was played there.

Although it has been destroyed, much can be learned from an interdisciplinary study of Old Man’s Playing Ground. Oral traditions of the Piikáni and other First Nations of the Northwest Plains and Interior Plateau, together with textual records spanning centuries, show it to be a place of enduring cultural significance irrespective of its physical remains. Knowledge of the site and the hoop-and-arrow game played there is widespread, in keeping with historic and ethnographic accounts of multiple groups meeting and gambling at the site.

In this work, oral tradition, history, and ethnography are brought together with a geomorphic assessment of the playing ground’s most probable location — a floodplain scoured and rebuilt by floodwaters of the Oldman — and the archaeology of adjacent prehistoric campsite DlPo-8. Taken together, the locale can be understood as a nexus for cultural interaction and trade, through the medium of gambling and games, on the natural frontier between peoples of the Interior Plateau and Northwest Plains.

Witness

Witness
Canadian Art of the First World War

By Amber Lloydlangston and Laura Brandon
April 2014, ISBN 978-0-660-20282-2
120 pages, 56 images, 15 x 15 cm, paperback
$9.95 (also in French)
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From the massive canvases painted by official war artists to the tiny personal sketches by amateur soldiers, Witness – Canadian Art of the First World War examines how Canadians captured their First World War experiences in art, both at home and overseas.

This souvenir catalogue showcases 56 oil paintings, watercolours, prints and sketches by 52 artists in full colour. As they did when they were produced, these works help us understand and appreciate the unprecedented contributions and sacrifices Canadians made between 1914 and 1918.

Transformations

Transformations
A. Y. Jackson and Otto Dix

By Laura Brandon
April 2014, ISBN 978-0-660-20281-5
120 pages, 50 images, 15 x 15 cm, paperback
$9.95 (also in French)
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Group of Seven painter A. Y. Jackson and German artist Otto Dix incorporated the brutal horrors that they saw as soldiers on the First World War front lines into their later landscape art.

Transformations – A. Y. Jackson and Otto Dix shows how the two artists drew on memories of the physical destruction they witnessed at the front to create artworks that mourned the conflict’s consequences and reflected the post-war evolution of Canadian and German national identity.

Arranged chronologically into five sections, from their early years to their deaths, this souvenir catalogue traces the impact of the First World War on both artists’ careers. It includes 44 full-colour images of landscape paintings, drawings and prints, some never before seen in Canada.

The Grand Hall

The Grand Hall
First Peoples of Canada’s Northwest Coast

By Leslie Tepper
March 2014, ISBN 978-0-660-20279-2
108 pages, 55 images, 15 x 15 cm, paperback
$9.95 (also in French)
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Explore the Aboriginal cultures of Canada’s Pacific Coast through this richly illustrated souvenir catalogue of the Museum’s Grand Hall. Discover ancient and contemporary works of Northwest Coast art found in every aspect of daily life from simple tools to the complex ceremonial regalia, masks and theatrical pieces created for public performance. Soaring totem poles and magnificent house front paintings draw attention to the vaulted ceiling and stunning architecture of the Grand Hall itself.

The Northwest Coast exhibition, developed in consultation and with the assistance of Northwest Coast First Nation artists, curators and scholars, reveals an extraordinary culture that has existed in Canada for thousands of years.

Du coq à l’âme

Du coq à l’âme
L’art populaire au Québec

By Jean-François Blanchette
February 2014, ISBN 978-2-7603-0814-5
Mercury Series, Cultural Studies 85
300 pp., 320 illustrations, 17 x 24 cm, paperback
$65 (French only)
Trade orders: University of Ottawa Press

 

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Folk art reflects both the perspectives of its producers and of society as a whole, resulting in work that ranges from formal and traditional to free-spirited and even eccentric. Whether created recently or decades ago, folk art is always expressive and authentic. Du coq à l’âme: L’art populaire au Québec is the product of many years of research by the author, including meetings with artists, collectors and fellow researchers, all passionate about this highly individual form of creativity.

Anthropologist Jean-François Blanchette takes a historical and visual approach to the collections of Quebec folk art at the Canadian Museum of History, including the prestigious Nettie Covey Sharpe Collection, acquired in 2002. Through photographs, interviews and original research, this book is designed to improve awareness of the cultural and social history of folk art, while showcasing the work of little-known Quebec artists. Du coq à l’âme seeks to define Quebec folk art, while also examining everything from its traditional forms, often centuries old, to its most recent and unbridled form of expression: graffiti.

Snow

Snow
By Bianca Gendreau
December 2013, ISBN 978-0-660-20278-5
112 pages, 64 images, 15 x 15 cm, paperback
$9.95 (also in French)
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Snow. A source of passion, creativity and ingenuity — what would Canada be without it?

From the time of their arrival in North America, Europeans had to contend with snow, as had Aboriginal Peoples for centuries before them. Snow has always influenced the way we live and our ability to adapt — look no further than our constantly evolving winter sports. Snow is not only the muse of artists but also a driver of the economy. Featuring 300 artifacts, Snow presents a cultural history of this definitive northern precipitation.

This souvenir catalogue includes over 60 images – from epic snowstorms to satirical cartoons – that reveal how snow has shaped the Canadian identity. You’ll never look at winter the same way again.

First Peoples of Canada

First Peoples of Canada
Masterworks from the Canadian Museum of Civilization

By Jean-Luc Pilon and Nicholette Prince
With contributions from Ian Dyck, Andrea Laforet and Eldon Yellowhorn
Foreword by Douglas Cardinal
October 2013, ISBN 978-1-4426-2612-6
176 pp., 195 images, 23 x 28 cm, paperback
$49.95 (English only)
Limited-time discount price: $39.96
Trade orders: University of Toronto Press

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First Peoples of Canada offers readers a rare opportunity to experience a celebrated exhibition that has toured the world, yet has never been shown in Canada. This beautifully designed, full-colour book presents a collection of 150 archaeological and ethnographic objects produced by Canada’s First Peoples – including some that are roughly 12,000 years old – that represent spectacular expressions of creativity and ingenuity.

Curators Jean-Luc Pilon and Nicholette Prince sought out pieces held by the Canadian Museum of Civilization that could be considered “masterworks” based on their aesthetic qualities, symbolic value or the skills and raw materials used in manufacturing them. These unique and priceless artifacts embody the rich diversity of skills and materials used by Canadian Inuit, First Nations and Métis in both ancient and modern times.

First Peoples of Canada is full of insights not only on the pieces themselves, but also on the cultures that produced them and the geography of this vast land. Readers will come away from this book with a renewed appreciation of the lifestyles and achievements of Canada’s original inhabitants.

Jean-Luc Pilon is Curator of Ontario Archaeology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Nicholette Prince is former Curator of Plateau Ethnology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, now working as an independent consultant.

Peace – The Exhibition

Peace – The Exhibition
By Amber Lloydlangston and Kathryn Lyons
May 2013, ISBN 978-0-660-20262-4
112 pages, 52 images, 15 x 15 cm, paperback
$9.95 (also in French)
Includes money-saving coupons

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Canada has been shaped by people taking action to make peace possible: by acting as skilled negotiators, providing humanitarian aid, shouldering arms or demonstrating against wars and weapons. Peace – The Exhibition is the first major exhibition to explore the many ways Canadians have acted for peace. It features more than 300 unique and important artifacts, across 12 historic episodes, and encourages visitors to add their own voices.

This souvenir catalogue captures the rich history of peace in Canada through more than 50 images and a chronological account of key historic episodes. It invites all Canadians to better understand peace as a force for action and change in our past, and as an ongoing narrative today.

Rewriting Marpole

Rewriting Marpole
The Path to Cultural Complexity in the Gulf of Georgia

By Terence N. Clark
April 2013, ISBN 978-0-7766-0794-8
Mercury Series, Archaeology 172
265 pages, 44 illustrations, 17 x 24 cm, paperback
$55 (English Only)
Trade orders: University of Ottawa Press

 

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This book examines prehistoric culture change in the Gulf of Georgia region of the northwest coast of North America during the Locarno Beach (3500–1100 BP) and Marpole (2000–1100 BP) periods. The Marpole culture has traditionally been seen to possess all the traits associated with complex hunter-gatherers on the northwest coast (hereditary inequality, multi-family housing, storage-based economies, resource ownership, wealth accumulation, etc.) while the Locarno Beach culture has not.

This research examined artifact and faunal assemblages as well as data for art and mortuary architecture from a total of 164 Gulf of Georgia archaeological site components. Geographic location and ethnographic language distribution were also compared to the archaeological data. Analysis was undertaken using Integrative Distance Analysis (IDA), a new statistical model developed in the course of this research.

Results indicated that Marpole culture was not a regional phenomenon, but much more spatially and temporally discrete than previously thought. Artifactual assemblages identified as Marpole were restricted to the areas of the Fraser River, northern Gulf Islands and portions of Vancouver Island.

In contrast, the ethnographic territory of the Straits Salish showed no sign of Marpole culture, but rather a presence of Late Locarno Beach culture. The pattern found in artifacts was replicated in the distribution of art and mortuary architecture variation suggesting the cultural differences between Marpole and Late Locarno Beach cultures was real and not merely a statistical anomaly.

Terence Clark joined the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 2011 as Curator of Western Canadian Archaeology. He received his doctorate from the University of Toronto. He has held research and teaching positions at University College London and the University of Toronto. His specialties include spatial analysis, geographic information systems (GIS) and statistics. His research focuses on prehistoric economic and social change, resource management and group identity in the archaeological record in coastal British Columbia.

Women’s Work, Women’s Art

Women’s Work, Women’s Art
Nineteenth-Century Northern Athapaskan Clothing

By Judy Thompson
March 2013, ISBN 978-0-7735-4159-7
336 pp., 204 images, 23 x 28 cm, paperback
$59.95 (English only)
Trade orders: McGill-Queen’s University Press

 

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Women’s Work, Women’s Art combines oral traditions, community interviews and the writings of traders, explorers and missionaries with a wealth of visual materials – from rare early sketches to 20th century photographs – to produce an engaging and definitive study of Athapaskan clothing and culture.

Garments made from tanned animal hides afforded Northern Athapaskans protection against a harsh environment, but the striking features of this clothing are also a distinctive part of the traditional culture of the Indigenous peoples of North America’s western subarctic. Beautifully decorated with quillwork, fringes, and pigments, they provide a means of artistic expression signifying ethnic identity and conveying information about the physical, social, and spiritual well-being of the wearer.

Women’s Work, Women’s Art is the culmination of over 40 years of research and the first comprehensive study of this little-known aspect of Athapaskan culture. Encompassing all Northern Athapaskan groups, it chronicles a period that saw significant change in Aboriginal culture and the persistence of ancient traditions among the women who made and adorned this clothing. Individual chapters address the various roles and functions of clothing in Athapaskan societies, the technology of clothing production and design, and characteristic regional styles.

Judy Thompson recently retired as curator of western subarctic ethnology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. She is the author of several publications on Northern Athapaskan material culture and artistic traditions.

L’exploitation du phoque à l’embouchure du Saguenay par les Iroquoiens de 1000 à 1534

L’exploitation du phoque à l’embouchure du Saguenay par les Iroquoiens de 1000 à 1534
By Michel Plourde
January 2013, ISBN 978-2-7603-0793-3
Mercury Series, Archaeology 171
274 pages, 141 illustrations, 17 x 24 cm, paperback
$65 (French only)
Trade orders: University of Ottawa Press

 

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During the Late Woodland Period in Quebec (1000–1534), the St. Lawrence Iroquoians were active in exploiting marine resources—particularly seals—around the mouth of the Saguenay River. The Iroquoians likely came from the Québec City area, where their base camps were located. They had adapted to the rich marine resources of the estuary over time, becoming the most mobile of the St. Lawrence Valley Iroquoians. In this study, the author describes two seasonal hunts. The first took place in spring, when male hunters drew on large populations of Greenland seals. The second was in summer, when entire families hunted grey seals and common seals. The by-products of the seal hunt would have been used as food reserves, raw materials or trade items. The author also presents the hypothesis that these excursions into the river estuary were not necessarily related to the precarious nature of agricultural pursuits in the Québec City region, given that agricultural practices would have been adopted only in the fourteenth or even at the beginning of the fifteenth century.

Michel Plourde is an archaeologist specializing in Quebec prehistory. He works as an archaeological consultant with a range of public, paragovernmental and private organizations. Since 2007, he has also been a lecturer with the Department of History at the Université Laval, where he teaches archaeological excavation techniques to first-year students. With a Master’s degree and a Doctorate in Archaeology from the Department of Anthropology at the Université de Montréal, the author has also studied the use of pottery among First Peoples living beyond its primary areas of production, both in the St. Lawrence River estuary and around James Bay. He has written on the potential location of Stadacona, on seal-hunting techniques of the First Peoples of southern Quebec and on how small archaeological sites contribute to our understanding of nomadic groups.

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