Charles Marius Barbeau (1883-1969)

Frederick Wilkerson Waugh
   © MCC/CMC No. M115

Charles Marius Barbeau was one of Canada's most renowned anthropologists, folklorists, and ethnomusicologists, and worked for the Anthropological Division of the Geological Survey of Canada (now part of the Canadian Museum of Civilization) between 1911 and 1948. His interest in recording the stories, languages and songs of Aboriginal people began in British Columbia, later extending to the Huron and Iroquois of Ontario and Quebec.

Barbeau began his study of Huron culture at Lorette, Quebec. While at Lorette, he learned of the Huron and Wyandot peoples living along the Detroit River near Amherstburg, Ontario, and went there, where he heard Huron spoken for the first time. Later travelling to Oklahoma for a three-month period in 1911, Barbeau recorded information on Huron clans, customs and stories in the Huron language. He also began making a series of photographic portraits.

Barbeau's portraits of the Huron document some of the last people to speak the Huron language and practice Huron traditions. His photographic record chronicles a people originally displaced from central Ontario during the sixteenth century by the Iroquois. Later migrating to Quebec, the Ohio Valley and Kansas, the Huron finally established a new homeland in Oklahoma, where they live to this day.

F. Knowles   |   F.W. Waugh   |   H. Smith   |  

Exhibition   |   Menu