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The Wallis Collection

In 1974, Ms. Montminy — head Archivist for the Ethnology Division of the Canadian National Museum of Man — sent a letter to Wilson D. Wallis requesting "his assistance in properly fitting materials he had deposited" in the archives.

Ruth Sawtell Wallis informed Ms Montminy that Wilson Dallam Wallis has passed away on March 15, 1970 . However, she added that as Wilson Wallis' wife, an anthropologist and "his companion in his last four field summers among the Indians of Canada," she would be competent to comply with the request.

Ms. Montminy and Ruth Wallis corresponded over the years and eventually Ruth Wallis bequeathed field notes and photographs taken during research with her husband, in the early 1950's, among the Canadian Dakota (primarily at Sioux Valley, Manitoba).

Wilson Wallis' contribution consists of ethnographic field notes, photographs, and material culture, including medicine bags, pipes, and other items. In addition to his research in the 1950's, Wilson Wallis had previously conducted research among the Canadian Dakota (primarily at Sioux Valley and Dakota Tipi) in 1914-15 and among the Micmac-Maliceet (1911-1912).

Wilson and Ruth Wallis' photographic collection includes many photographs of Dakota women and children from Sioux Valley. The people photographed by the Wallis' have lived a lifetime since these photos were taken and have made significant contributions to their community and Canadian society.

There is a photograph of a young Mary Hall (Duta) holding her son Ron. Mary is a well-respected Elder who, among other accomplishments, has helped many students over the years while working as Cultural Advisor at Brandon University in Manitoba.

Thanks to the work of Wilson Dallam Wallis and Ruth Sawtell Wallis and through the efforts of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, members of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation and the public now have the opportunity to view this photographic collection.

Dr. Mark F. Ruml
Assistant Professor- Religious Studies
University of Winnipeg

View all items in the collection

The bulk of the Wallis Collection has been published in the following sources:

Wilson Dallam Wallis and Ruth Sawtell Wallis, Maliceet Indians of New Brunswick. Ottawa: Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources, 1957.

Wilson Dallam Wallis and Ruth Sawtell Wallis, The Micmac Indians of Eastern Canada. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1955.

Wilson Dallam Wallis, "Beliefs and Tales of the Canadian Dakota." The Journal of American Folk Lore, vol. 36, 1923: pp. 36 101.

Wilson Dallam Wallis, "The Canadian Dakota." American Museum of Natural History, Anthropological Papers, vol. 41, pt. 1, 1947: pp. 42 110.

Wilson Dallam Wallis, "The Sun Dance of the Canadian Dakota." American Museum of Natural History, Anthropological Papers, vol. 16, 1919: pp. 317 380.