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Great Lakes Research Alliance
for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures

June 2021 Newsletter

Aanii!  She:kon!  Yiheh!  Welcome!  Bienvenue!

It is exciting to share a wide range of stories by and for GRASAC members and subscribers today, at the opening of Indigenous Peoples Month. You are invited to share your news and stories in future newsletters - learn how at the end of this issue.

In this newsletter you will find:

  • GRASAC Communications Survey, by Bradley Clements
  • To Honour and Respect: Gifts from Michi Saagiig Women to the Prince of Wales, 1860, by Lori Beavis & Laura Peers
  • Keeping connected, the British Museum, by Amber Lincoln
  • Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre Featured in Stories from the Land on CBC, by Krista Barclay
  • Concrete Lessons: Policies and Practices Affecting the Impact of COVID-19 for Urban Indigenous Communities in the United States and Canada, by Heather Howard-Bobiwash, Jennie R. Joe, & Susan Lobo
  • Scriptural Relations: Colonial Formations of Anishinaabemowin Bibles in Nineteenth-Century Canada, by Roxanne L. Korpan
  • Youth Workshop on Treaties: ‘Everything comes down to Relationships’, by Teagan de Laronde and Krista Barclay
  • Virtual Craft Fair, from the Woodland Cultural Centre
  • Birch Bark Basket Workshop, from the Myseum of Toronto
  • From the GKS, by Bradley Clements
  • Invitation to contribute to future GRASAC newsletters

GRASAC Communications Survey
by Bradley Clements

Over the summer we will be drafting a new GRASAC Communications Policy to improve how you stay connected and informed. To guide this process, you are invited to respond to the GRASAC Communications Survey by clicking the button bellow. The survey will be available until June 19, 2021.

This survey is only a starting point. It will inform the creation of a draft policy for which there will be additional opportunities for feedback in future. Please stay tuned for those! You can also be in touch with ideas and suggestions at any point at

GRASAC's communications are made by and for you: members, partners, and subscribers who share and engage content through the GRASAC newsletter, listserv, and Twitter account. Thank you for helping our communities stay connected.

Participate in GRASAC's Communications Survey
A rectangular birch bark box with quillwork. The quillwork facing forward forms letters reading "By Hannah M Cue Rice Lake."
Quilled birchbark basket by Hannah McCue, given to the Prince of Wales, 1860. Image: Lori Beavis. Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, RCIN84337.

To Honour and Respect: Gifts from Michi Saagiig Women to the Prince of Wales, 1860
by Lori Beavis & Laura Peers

Hiawatha First Nation (HFN) and the Peterborough Museum & Archives (PMA) have been awarded $153,817 by the Department of Canadian Heritage Museum Assistance Program, through the Indigenous Heritage stream.

“To Honour and Respect: Gifts from Michi Saagiig Women to the Prince of Wales, 1860” will facilitate the loan of a group of quilled birch bark items from the Royal Collection Trust in England, in 2023. The items were gifts to HRH Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, at Rice Lake in 1860 during his tour of Canada. Remarkably, each is signed by the woman who made it, enabling connections with descendants today.

The PMA will house the ancestral items while in Canada. HFN will lead associated programming, including workshops on quillwork, birch bark arts and Michi Saagiig language. Project leads Dr. Lori Beavis (a Hiawatha Nation citizen) and Dr. Laura Peers note that they will hire Indigenous youth as exhibition docents.

Chief Laurie Carr (HFN) said, “It is so exciting to have our Ancestors come back home to our First Nation, our Traditional Territory. All of these gifts given to the Prince in 1860 are interwoven from our past, to our present, and into our future. The spirit of our Ancestors lives in these gifts and it is such an overwhelming feeling to know that we will be able to meet them and have ceremony and bring together many generations.”

Arctic: Culture and Climate 360˚ Tour from the British Museum (screenshot).

Keeping connected, the British Museum
by Amber Lincoln

I’m grateful to hear about the culture, art, heritage and histories of the regions surrounding the Great Lakes. I’m one of two permanent curators in the Americas (north and south) section at the British Museum. Jago Cooper, head of the Americas, is the other permanent curator. We often split regions. I tend to focus on North American while he covers the Caribbean and South America. The British Museum collection is listed online (COL), here. The design was updated last year and now is easier to use. Many within the GRASAC network have visited and worked with collections housed at the BM. I’m always grateful to learn during these documentation trips. Please feel free to send comments, information and questions about the collection. There is a feedback form on COL, which eventually comes to me, or you can email me directly,

Recently, I’ve worked on the Citi Exhibition Arctic: culture and climate. It’s been an incredible circumpolar community effort, including: community advisors from Alaska, Nunavut, Sápmi, and, Sakha Republic, with museum and gallery partnerships from the US, Canada, Russia, Denmark, and Switzerland, as well as academic advisors from the University of Aberdeen, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, The US National Park Service, and the Russian Academy of Science, Institute of Material Culture. Sadly, the pandemic reduced the amount of time this exhibition was available, and so, an online experience was created, a 360˚ Tour, here.

Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung, July 2019. Photo by Kyle Byron.

Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre Featured in Stories from the Land on CBC
by Krista Barclay

Through Ryan McMahon’s new CBC documentary Stories from the Land you will learn about Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung (the place of the long rapids) located on Manidoo Ziibi (Rainy River) in Northwestern Ontario. Owned and operated by Rainy River First Nations, Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung is one of a handful of Indigenous-run curatorial centres in Ontario. In the episode you will get to meet KC Oster, an Anishinaabe artist and interpreter at Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung, as well as Giitaagiizhig Art Hunter, a Rainy River First Nations Knowledge Keeper and community historian. Hunter is hard at work on a vital oral project called Giiatisoke: Preserving our Stories. Professor Pamela Klassen, Dr. Krista Barclay and students at the University of Toronto have been working with staff at Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung on historical research and developing photo books where community members can record their memories and stories as part of the Giiatisoke project. If you have photos of Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung/Manitou Mounds or Manitou Rapids that you would like to share with the project please get in touch with Krista Barclay ( 

Follow Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung on Twitter @Manitoumounds for project updates and the Anishinaabemowin word of the day (and add them to your next road trip itinerary)! 

Watch Stories from the Land
More about KC Oster's Artwork
Concrete Lessons: Policies and Practices Affecting the Impact of COVID-19 for Urban Indigenous Communities in the United States and Canada
by Heather Howard-Bobiwash, Jennie R. Joe, & Susan Lobo

Throughout the Americas, most Indigenous people move through urban areas and make their homes in cities. Yet, the specific issues and concerns facing Indigenous people in cities, and the positive protective factors their vibrant urban communities generate are often overlooked and poorly understood. This has been particularly so under COVID-19 pandemic conditions. In the spring of 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples called for information on the impacts of COVID-19 for Indigenous peoples. We took that opportunity to provide a response focused on urban Indigenous communities in the United States and Canada. Here, we expand on that response and Indigenous and human rights lens to review policies and practices impacting the experience of COVID-19 for urban Indigenous communities. Our analysis integrates a discussion of historical and ongoing settler colonialism, and the strengths of Indigenous community-building, as these shape the urban Indigenous experience with COVID-19. Mindful of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we highlight the perspectives of Indigenous organizations which are the lifeline of urban Indigenous communities, focusing on challenges that miscounting poses to data collection and information sharing, and the exacerbation of intersectional discrimination and human rights infringements specific to the urban context. We include Indigenous critiques of the implications of structural oppressions exposed by COVID-19, and the resulting recommendations which have emerged from Indigenous urban adaptations to lockdown isolation, the provision of safety, and delivery of services grounded in Indigenous initiatives and traditional practices.
Read the article here
"Rev. Peter Jones or Kahkewaquonaby, 1802 - 1856. Indian chief and missionary in Canada," David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson (1843-1847), commissioned and printed by Michael and Barbara Grey, National Galleries of Scotland, PGP HA 2337.
Scriptural Relations: Colonial Formations of Anishinaabemowin Bibles in Nineteenth-Century Canada
by Roxanne L. Korpan

In 1829 Anishinaabe chief and Methodist minister Kahkewaquonaby, or Peter Jones, published his first translation of the Christian bible into Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), an edition of the first seven chapters of the Gospel of Matthew printed in Toronto by the colonial government in Canada. This publication was soon followed by Anishinaabemowin translations of other Christian scriptures including the Gospel of John published by the British and Foreign Bible Society in London, England (1831) and Genesis published by the Toronto Auxiliary Bible Society in Toronto (1835). Despite deep imbrications in Indigenous, religious, political, and print histories of the country—and by contrast to vibrant scholarship produced on Indigenous-language bibles published in the United States—scholars have paid relatively little critical attention to Indigenous-language bible translation in colonial Canada. This article examines the materiality of Jones’s bible translations to argue that Indigenous-language bible translations mediated a range of relations between and among Indigenous peoples, missionaries, and colonial agents. In so doing, this paper shows how books can serve as useful archival objects to construct histories of religion and colonialism in North America, and how Indigenous-language bibles can reveal Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.
If you have questions or have difficulty accessing the article you can contact the author here:
Read the article here

Youth Workshop on Treaties: ‘Everything comes down to Relationships’
by Teagan de Laronde and Krista Barclay

With support from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and the Connaught Community Partnerships Treaty Teachings project at the University of Toronto we are coordinating a workshop for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth (broadly defined as ages 15-30) to discuss the many different relationships in the land now known as Canada. These include relationships Indigenous peoples and Canadians have with the land and each other, and how these relationships have been represented in and by Treaty. All are invited to this discussion led by Mitch Case (Métis Nation of Ontario) and Joanne Robertson (Atikameksheng Anishnawbek) to welcome the idea that we all have a role in maintaining these relationships. 

The workshop is taking place through Zoom on June 9th from 2-4 pm EST. Indigenous youth participants may also choose to attend a smaller follow-up sharing session with Mitch and Joanne where honoraria for their participation will be provided.  

Please share this notice with interested youth in your classes, families, or communities. Anyone who would like to attend can reach out to Teagan de Laronde ( or Krista Barclay ( for more information.

Virtual Craft Fair
from the Woodland Cultural Centre

This year Six Nations organizations will be hosting, selling, and promoting Indigenous crafts, art, and products during the Virtual Craft Fair, from June 11th to 13th.
Learn More Here
Image from the Myseum of Toronto.
Birch Bark Basket Workshop
from the Myseum of Toronto

As part of their "From Weeds We Grow" series and "Myseum Intersections 2021," the Myseum of Toronto is hosting a birch bark basket making workshop, facilitated by Lindsey Lickers.
Information and Registration
An Anishinaabe child's doll and tikinaagan (cradleboard) from the 1800s, currently in the collection of the British Museum. (Image from the GKS, for research and community use only)
From the GKS: An Anishinaabe Child's Tikinaagan and Doll
by Bradley Clements

Yesterday was a day of mourning for the 215 Indigenous children whose graves were located at the Kamloops Indian Residential School last week. For many, especially those who went to Indian residential, boarding, or day schools or who have intimate relations who did, the memory and effects of these systems are felt every day of every year. Yesterday included many poignant expressions of grief, including placing Teddy Bears on front porches. In reflection of this, I have reproduced our "From the GKS" feature from last Orange Shirt Day, a child's doll and tikinaagan.

There is currently little information in the GKS about this tikinaagan (cradleboard) and doll, but it is believed to have belonged to an Anishinaabe child in the 1800s. It may have been cherished before the time when residential schooling became widely institutionalized. As such, it represents the care for the young that was and continues to be learned and practiced throughout life in Anishinaabeg and other Indigenous communities. It is telling that tikinaaganan like this were common belongings of children in communities but would not have been permitted in residential schools, which did not teach or practice care for young people or families. Teachings for Anishinaabe community care are embodied in tikinaaganan and can be reconnected with through them, as demonstrated in the wonderful thesis of former GRASAC research assistant Alexandra Kahsenniio Nahwegahbow, "Springtime in n’Daki Menan, the Homeland of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai: Babies, Cradleboards and Community Wrapping."

Invitation to submit a "From the GKS" feature

If you have an item from the GKS that you would like to share, or want to recommend a particular item whose story we should tell, please contact our communications assistant, Bradley Clements.

GRASAC items have a comment feature, so once you have logged on to the database and viewed the item, you can share a connection or story.

Forgot your password to the database? Contact our project manager, Haley Bryant, who can reset it for you.

Bradley and Haley can both be reached at

Invitation to contribute to future GRASAC newsletters

We are accepting submissions for inclusion in GRASAC’s monthly newsletter. Any submissions related to GRASAC and the interests of members are encouraged! Submission suggestions include GRASAC member news, community happenings and events, exhibition reviews and announcements, calls for papers from relevant journals or conferences, grant opportunities and programs, GKS object highlights and stories, and bios of GRASAC-associated Elders, members, and RAs.

Your submission can be in text, image, or video form, or in the form of links to other accessible platforms. Submission deadlines are the 25th day of each month. Submissions received on or before the 25th will be sent out on the 1st day of the following month.  Please contact Bradley Clements (GRASAC research assistant) at for further information and to submit materials.
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