Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Drive Towards The West

This is an elk skin, of the Blackfoot people of the northern plains. As part of what was called a winter count, each year an image would be added onto the skin as a record of events.

This display case features a full canoe, oars, wampum belt, and the characteristic sashes worn by the French speaking traders who went deep into the continent in search of fur and other goods.

Another legacy left by those traders were the Metis, a blend of Indigenous and French Canadian who became a culture in their own right. Some of their clothing is here.

Viewable from the balcony here are four works of art, each named after a season. These are by Dene artist Alex Janvier. The corridor below was closed off due to Covid restrictions.

A set of panels and photographs here are housed under a teepee. The signage is current, asking that only one person at a time be inside this space.

As was the case south of the border, the drive to unite the country east to west with transcontinental railroads was part of the country's story in the latter part of the 19th century.

Artifacts here include a ceremonial last spike and a pocket watch of John A. Macdonald, the prime minister who pushed for the railroads.


  1. It amazes me how beautiful their canoes were.

  2. Love that elk skin. People will record their history with what they have available.

  3. I never heard of the Metis. Getting quite an education thanks to your posts.

  4. Especially the drawings at the elk skin and the coat are really wonderful.

  5. ...the western expansion is quite a story!

  6. I remember a winter count that maybe you showed us in the past. I love that idea of recording the seasons.

  7. I love the way that skin is painted.

  8. Many westerners still aren't sure how unified the country is. One thing , we have great museums but they're not in the west and not much western content.

  9. The elk skin is fascinating. I haven't seen anything like that before.

  10. Nice displays, the elk skin and coat are interesting how folks live with nature as best they could.

  11. The elk skin is quite amazing, beautiful displays for this exhibition.

  12. @Francisco: thanks!

    @Janey: I agree.

    @Marie: true.

    @DJan: they're well known in Canadian history, especially in regards to the West.

    @Jan: I think so too.

    @Tom: that it is.

  13. @RedPat: yes, I've shown this elk skin before.

    @Sharon: so do I.

    @Red: generally speaking a national museum ought to be in the area of the national capital, but that doesn't mean museums elsewhere can't be good.

    @Fun60: I have, in an American context, but the Blackfeet nation lies on both sides of the border.

    @Maywyn: that's true.

    @Bill: I think so too.

  14. The elk skin is fascinating. Thank you for your tours, they really are so interesting.

  15. One of these days I will visit these displays... : )

  16. Such wonderful museums and history.
    I can't believe you had snow already... But I know you are happy, SNOW !
    We a very long and very hot summer with no rain. So the quick temp drop was not good.

  17. The drive to connect the oceans was so strong in both countries.

  18. Fascinating to see how they kept records.

  19. These displays are beautiful and show the rich history of Native Americans.

  20. So interesting about the elkskin - using it as a way to record events.

  21. That coat is really beautiful and I like the way they displayed things under the teepee.

  22. @Marleen: I think so.

    @Gemel: you're welcome.

    @Catarina: it's a great place to visit.

    @Revrunner: that it is.

    @Parsnip: I did a happy dance.

  23. @Joanne: that's true.

    @Magiceye: definitely.

    @Michelle: I think so too.

    @Susie: it's creative.

    @Jeanie: I do too.