Special Mi’kmaq garments reunited for the first time at the Canadian Museum of HistorySeptember 19, 2023
Gatineau, Quebec, September 19, 2023 — Today, the Canadian Museum of History and Metepenagiag Heritage Park jointly hosted a special ceremony to celebrate a unique event — two very special Mi’kmaq outfits being displayed together for the very first time.
The original outfit — which is housed at the Museum — was created in the early 1840s by three unnamed Mi’kmaq women, most likely from Esgenoôpetitj First Nation. It belonged to Captain Henry Dunn O’Halloran of the British Army’s 69th Regiment of Foot. The second outfit, an exact replica of the original, is the result of an extensive process undertaken in 2020 by a group of Mi’kmaw artists from Metepenagiag Heritage Park in Red Bank, New Brunswick
Constrained by the pandemic, Sgoagani Mye Wecenisqon from Esgenoôpetitj First Nation, Oakley Wysote Gray from Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation, and Ingrid Brooks from Indian Island First Nation, found ways to continue sewing, beading and working together to create the intricate designs featured on the ceremonial outfit. Determined to complete their work, and eager to recognize the work of the artists who created the original outfit, they had the opportunity to admire these outfits together for the first time earlier today.
“The Museum is honoured to have been involved in this meaningful project with Metepenagiag Heritage Park and to have been part of this important story that they are now sharing with us all,” said Caroline Dromaguet, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Museum of History. “Working closely with Indigenous communities from around the country to ensure their stories are reflected in Canada’s national history museum is critical to our relationships with communities and to our everyday work at the Museums. This is why we are proud that this special ceremony is one of many other milestones in our ongoing work with the Heritage Park.”
In addition to demonstrating the continuation of the Mi’kmaq style of craft, the reproduction of the outfit shifts the focus on the Mi’kmaq artists who are integral to the story, highlighting their knowledge and skill while emphasizing the ongoing vitality of this traditional art form in the community.
“Metepenagiag Heritage Park is thrilled with the display of the original coat from 1841 alongside its replicated counterpart. This achievement holds great significance for us as it allows us to highlight the remarkable artistic talent of both past and present artists,” said Patricia Dunnet, General Manager at Metepenagjag Heritage Park. “By showcasing these coats, we aim to honour our ancestors for their incredible work and also pay tribute to the craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations. It’s through this special display that we seek to emphasize the importance of preserving and appreciating a historical object, as well as recognizing the ongoing creativity and skill within our artistic Indigenous community. We believe that by bridging the gap between past and present, we can foster a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, our collective artistic heritage.”
The Museum of History and the Metepenagiag Heritage Park will continue their collaboration as artists from the group will complete professional and technical training in museum practices as part of the Museum of History’s Indigenous Internship Program. The reproduction will travel back to New Brunswick where it will be on display at the Metepenagiag Heritage Park.
Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History welcomes more than 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum’s principal role is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada’s history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians’ awareness of world history and culture. Work of the Canadian Museum of History is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.
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Senior Media Relations and
Canadian Museum of History
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