An Aboriginal Presence

We Are the Land

We find the knowledge of our ancestors in:

the basket of spruce root and cedar boughs, used for collecting clams on the Pacific foreshore in the early 1900s;

Clam Basket
Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl)
British Columbia
Before 1885
Spruce root and red cedar wood
Canadian Museum of Civilization, VII-E-329, CD97-258-058

Clam Basket - VII-E-329 - CD97-258-058

the nettle harvested for fibre, the fibre made into cord, the cord made into nets for catching the eulachon, or candle-fish, that migrate annually to the rivers of the Pacific Coast;

Eulachon Net
Mountain goat wool, wood and cotton
Canadian Museum of Civilization, VII-A-202,
Eulachon Net - VII-A-202 - CD95-624-086

the oil made from the eulachon, as a food, as an item for trade, and as a gift;

Ladle for Eulachon Grease
British Columbia
Early 1900s
Canadian Museum of Civilization, VII-C-1616,
D2002-006421, CD2002-068
Ladle - VII-C-1616 - D2002-006421 - CD2002-068

the bow and arrows used to hunt caribou on the tundra;

Hunting Equipment
Inuinnaq (Copper Inuit)
Before 1916
Sealskin, squirrel skin, feathers, wood, bone and sinew
Canadian Museum of Civilization, IV-D-73 a-q,

This equipment comprises a bow and case with quiver containing seven arrows, a tool bag containing arrowheads, two pieces of broken arrow shaft, a sinew twister, two marlin spikes, two meat pins, a pin for the blood bag, an arrow point, two strips of willow bark, a piece of wood for trimming arrow feathers, and a squirrel-skin bag containing feathers and a piece of sealskin originally sewn to the bow case to hold a hunting knife. Attached to the case are a bone carrying handle, two toggles for the strap, four ptarmigan pegs, and a handle and a pin for the blood bag.
Hunting Equipment - IV-D-73 a-q - CD94-677-009

the poncho made of silver willow, and the cape made of furs in the Nicola River valley;

Rain Cape
British Columbia
Before 1913
Elaeagnus bark, vegetable fibre, dye and animal hide
Canadian Museum of Civilization, II-C-627, CD96-969-027
Cape - II-C-627 - CD96-969-027

the drying rack made to hold Saskatoon berries, spread apart to dry singly, or mashed and boiled and spread into cakes.

Berry Drying Rack
British Columbia
About 1920
Cedar splints
Canadian Museum of Civilization, VII-C-1041,
Berry Drying Rack - VII-C-1041 - CD98-043-087

"Our clothes were made of moose hide, caribou hide, otter skin, weasel pelt, rabbit skin. Those are the things we relied on for clothing. We had rabbit skin hats or rabbit skin parkas with hoods. Rabbit was the warmest for clothing. You can sleep anywhere with your rabbit skin parkas and just use spruce boughs for cover. For shoes which would not soak through, our moccasins were made from top of moose hide. The top layer of hide called ootum isk is smoked, turned over and over until it gets brown and then it is made into moccasins. Sealskin can also be used for waterproof moccasins, and mitts."

James Carpenter

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