This Project was accomplished with the collaboration of the Musée de la civilisation (Québec), the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto), and the Canadian Heritage Information Network (Ottawa).
Both museums possess collections of Canadian native material of national and international significance, and were therefore ideal participants in a project to create an image resource on collections pertaining to Canada's First Nations.
The Project links digitized images with corresponding textual information from CHIN's National Inventory and makes them available on the Internet through SchoolNet and CHIN's Web pages. This Project provides access to significant collections representing an important chapter in Canadian heritage, the history of our First Nations. No other extensive image banks of this material are available on the Internet.
|Objects from the First Nations of what is now Canada are highlighted in the following exhibit. The collections presented here bring together around one hundred and eighty objects representing many of Canada's First Peoples. More than sixty objects come from the Royal Ontario Museum collection and some one hundred pieces are part of the collection of the Museum of Civilization. While the various groups are not evenly represented, this exhibit nevertheless provides an overview of First Peoples cultures in Canada.|
In the same way that First Nations today present a united front and support each other's actions and beliefs, these artifacts testify to a continuity of tradition across every time period and along diverse paths. From the pre-European period to the present day aboriginal peoples have developed techniques adapted to their needs and resources. They have used materials drawn from their immediate environment and have depicted effigies, animal motifs, symbols of legend, and geometric patterns that represent their cultural values and beliefs. These figures adorn everyday objects, art pieces, as well as those used in ceremonies.
With the development of trade relations with the Europeans and Euro-Canadians, foreign materials were incorporated by the First Peoples into their own tools and household articles. In many of these artifacts the new materials were incorporated using traditional construction techniques.
This practice has continued into the present period where artistic expression employs contemporary materials to express traditional themes. Likewise, traditional materials are often used to convey very modern messages.
The following objects have been gathered together under three headings that
reflect the kinds of materials used to make them.
Royal Ontario Museum | Museum of Civilization (Quebec) | Canadian Heritage Information Network