Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation in archival records: On exhibit in Red Deer

(ANNews) – A new exhibit at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery offers viewers an opportunity to explore some of the rich history of the Métis Nation. The exhibit, titled Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation in the Archival Records of Library and Archives Canada is on display from December 15, 2018 to March 10, 2019. 

In addition to material from Library and Archives Canada, local Métis citizens have shared their family histories and treasures from personal collections to make the exhibit even more personal and relevant to Central Alberta. A number of items have also been loaned from several institutional collections.

A very special opening event will take place on Sunday, January 20 from 2 – 4 pm at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery located at 4525 47A Avenue in Red Deer. The afternoon will celebrate Métis Culture, with Special Guest Marilyn Dumont, Metis Poet, and musical performances by Brianna Lizotte, Metis Fiddler. There is no charge to attend, but donations will be gratefully accepted.

The Red Deer Museum is very pleased to be offering this exhibit.

“The story of the Métis people in Central Alberta is one of the keystones of our history,” remarked Lorna Johnson, Executive Director at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery. “This exhibition presents a great opportunity to explore Métis culture and history across Canada, and to place our own history into that larger context. We are very grateful to the members of Central Alberta’s Métis community who have helped us to assemble local stories to supplement the touring exhibition.”

Library and Archives Canada has a wide variety of archival documents pertaining to the Métis Nation, including textual records, photographs, artwork, maps, stamps and sound recordings. This exhibition explores the portrayal of the Métis people – some of whom are “hiding in plain sight” – in reproductions of artworks and photographic collections, and in the accompanying archival descriptions. The exhibition aims to foster a better understanding of the history and culture of the Métis Nation.

The exhibit was on display in Saskatoon earlier this year. Karen Shmon, Director of Publishing at the Gabriel Dumont Institute told Eaglefeather News that she viewed the exhibit as an act of reconciliation.

She said,

“I see the exhibition as affirming our place in history, not just our own history, but the history of Canada. This exhibition is adding to peoples’ awareness of the Métis, our contributions to the country, and the history of our people, something that has been missing for so long in the mainstream narrative.

She further explained that “Library and Archives Canada (LAC) realized that many of their photographic holdings had missing or misinformation as a result of old descriptive practices, creating the impression that there were very few records pertaining to Canada’s second largest Aboriginal group, the Métis. To change this, LAC digitized a large number of those items and researched and updated what they knew would more clearly reflect Métis content. Then it was made into a travelling exhibition so more people could learn from it and enjoy it.”

The Métis emerged as a distinct people or nation in the historic Northwest during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries. This area is known as the “historic Métis Nation Homeland,” which includes Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, extending into the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Ontario, Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota.

The Métis Nation continues to thrive through kinship, storytelling, material culture, music, dance and song. Supported by the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery and the Métis community, local Métis citizens have generously shared treasures from their personal collections for the exhibition, along with items loaned from several institutional collections. These mementos document the rich and vibrant history of Métis culture, and enrich the story of the Métis Nation conveyed by the historical material from LAC.

Library and Archives Canada recognizes the knowledge and expertise provided by the Métis National Council and the Manitoba Metis Federation in the creation of this exhibition.

The exhibition was developed by Library and Archives Canada in collaboration with the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Métis National Council, with the support of the Government of Canada.

For more information visit reddeermuseum.com or call (403) 309-8405.


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