New Library and Archives Canada travelling exhibition offers unique opportunity to discover the Métis Nation
June 27, 2017, Winnipeg – The Manitoba Metis Federation, in partnership with Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and in collaboration with the Centre du patrimoine and the Saint-Boniface Historical Society, is pleased to announce the opening today of a travelling exhibition that showcases some of the rich history of the Métis Nation.
Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation in the Archival Records of Library and Archives Canada presents selected artwork and photographs about the Métis Nation. It is hoped that the images featured in the exhibition will help foster a better understanding of the history and culture of the Métis Nation and that many Canadians will be encouraged to research this topic further in LAC’s collection.
The exhibition is on view at the Centre du patrimoine, 340 Provencher Boulevard, in Winnipeg’s Saint-Boniface district, until October 28, 2017.
The exhibition explores the portrayal of Métis people—some of whom are “hiding in plain sight”—in reproductions of artworks and photographic collections as well as in the accompanying archival descriptions. It aims to foster a better understanding of the history and culture of the Métis Nation.
Library and Archives Canada would like to recognize the knowledge and expertise provided by the Métis National Council and the Manitoba Metis Federation in the creation of this exhibition.
After October 28, 2017, the travelling exhibition will move to Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, and to Saskatoon and Batoche, Saskatchewan. Dates and details will be published on the Library and Archives Canada website.
“Library and Archives Canada is proud to be able to share the important history of the Métis Nation. We hope that this exhibition will bring to light a side of history most often forgotten and help current generations better understand the past and apply its lessons as we progress towards reconciliation.”
– Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada
“The archives contain a wealth of information that affects us deeply, and this exhibition is a unique testament to this.”
– Gilles Lesage, Executive Director, Centre du patrimoine
“Since long before Manitoba became a province, the Métis were often ignored and overlooked in Canada’s—indeed the British Empire’s—historical record. The exhibit unearths pictures and drawings that tell this story. For example, there is the 1825 lithograph by Peter Rindisbacher titled A Gentleman Travelling in a Dog Cariole in Hudson’s Bay with an Indian Guide. This print artistically focuses on a Métis man—the owner of the dog team and sled—walking with a “gentleman” and an “Indian guide”, yet the Métis man is excluded from the description.
We are proud to work with our partners, Library and Archives Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the Saint Boniface Historical Society, in sharing these images of Métis people “hiding in plain sight”. This is an important step acknowledging our shared histories, filling the gaps, correcting the oversights, and better understanding and renewing the relationship between Canada and the Métis Nation.”
– David Chartrand, President, Manitoba Metis Federation
The Métis Nation traces its origins to the Red River Valley area of North America. By the 20th century, the Métis had developed a unique culture and identity, which led them to be called otipêymisowak—the independent ones.
The Métis developed their own language, Michif. A unique mix of French and Plains Cree languages, Michif is still spoken by many Métis today.
LAC holds a great variety of archival materials relating to the Métis Nation, including textual records, photographs, artwork, maps, stamps and sound recordings.
- Exhibition webpage: Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation in the Archival Records of Library and Archives Canada
- Blog: Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation in the Collection of Library and Archives Canada
- Métis National Council: http://www.metisnation.ca/
- Saint-Boniface Historical Society: http://shsb.mb.ca/en
Library and Archives Canada
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