From Sarah Mackillican
|The Ancestors are Coming Home for a Visit!|
Thirteen quilled wiigwaasii makakoons (pronounced weeg-wah-see mah-ka-coons) will be visiting their ancestral lands on Michi Saagiig territory from April 22 to November 19, 2023. Michi Saagiig women gave the thirteen birch bark baskets (makakoons) to the Prince of Wales on September 7, 1860, when he stopped at Rice Lake village (now Hiawatha First Nation) as part of a cross-Canada Royal tour.
Through a partnership between Hiawatha First Nation, the Mississauga Nation, the Peterborough Museum & Archives and Royal Collection Trust, the makakoons will be on exhibition at the Peterborough Museum & Archives (PMA), 300 Hunter St. E., Peterborough.
|Hiawatha First Nation and the Mississauga Nation communities are coming together to welcome these Ancestors home for a visit. We know that the makakoons have the names of women makers attached, and there are descendants of these women in our First Nations. While the Ancestors are with us on Michi Saagiig Territory, the PMA will create space for everyone to visit, and we will share knowledge about this art through viewing, workshops, and language classes. We will sit with the Ancestors and acknowledge their spirits and what they have to teach us. Each of the makakoons will add to our cultural knowledge and strength as Michi Saagiig Peoples.~ Chief Laurie Carr, Hiawatha First Nation|
Entitled “To Honour and Respect: Gifts from the Michi Saagiig Women to the Prince of Wales, 1860,” the exhibition will explore the cultural knowledge, love, respect, and diplomacy that went into the makakoons. The PMA is providing a safe and accessible home for the ancestral makakoons while in Canada. Since 1860, the makakoons have been part of the Royal Trust Collection and housed at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. They are on loan for exhibition by His Majesty King Charles III. The “To Honour and Respect” curators – Lori Beavis and Laura Peers – and the Planning Committee have worked closely with the Royal Collection Trust to facilitate the unique loan.
During the visit of the makakoons, there will be associated programming including workshops on quillwork, provided by Hiawatha First Nation artist Sandra Moore, and on Michi Saagiig language, provided by Curve Lake member Jonathan Taylor.
|The exhibition of this Michi Saagiig material culture will be of interest to many people in Peterborough and the surrounding area. Arts and culture make a significant contribution to a vibrant society; they help us tell our stories, remember the past, and imagine the future. The makakoons are part of all our heritages, as people who live and work on the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig. The “To Honour and Respect” exhibition at the PMA will be an exhibition for people of all ages to visit and learn about our history.~ Mayor Jeff Leal, City of Peterborough|
The partners acknowledge with gratitude that this project has been made possible in part through the support of the Government of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Peterborough Museum & Archives and City of Peterborough, and the generous support of the Mississauga Nations, including Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Alderville, Mississaugas of Scugog Island, Mississauga First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, and Hiawatha First Nation.
|Royal Collection Trust is delighted to exhibit this group of gifts presented to the future King Edward VII during the landmark first royal meeting with the Michi Saagiig in 1860. Since then, these outstanding works of art have been displayed within the royal residences as a symbol of relations between Mississauga Nation communities and the Crown. Today, this project offers an important opportunity to reconnect with Michi Saagiig knowledge holders and affirm links with this community.~ Curator Rachel Peat, Curator of Decorative Arts, Royal Collection Trust|