The Ballroom Costumes

Hayter Reed was Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and had spent considerable time among aboriginal peoples in Western Canada. He amassed a collection of dress, accessories, and other objects.

At the Historical Fancy Dress Ball in Ottawa, Reed chose to represent the sixteenth-century Iroquois chief Donnacona, who met Jacques Cartier. Like all the other ballgoers, his portrayal tells far more about Victorian perceptions than the real historic identity of the character. He donned contemporary Blackfoot and Cree items from his collection, mixing them indiscriminately, as well as dark makeup and a long wig.

His stepson, Jack Lowery, wore a costume of heavy crepe paper, with appliqués of beadwork. They made an appearance in the Indian Group.

Shirt worn by Hayter Reed
Hayter Reed as Donnacona
Shirt worn by Hayter Reed as Donnacona
Ottawa, 1896
Blackfoot, mid-19th century
Hide, glass beads, animal hair and feather trim
Loan courtesy of the McCord Museum
of Canadian History

© McCord Museum
Hayter Reed as Donnacona
with his stepson Jack Lowery
Ottawa, 1896
W.J. Topley
National Archives of Canada,