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Wampum

A replica of the Ojibway Piché Wampum, exchanged with Saugeen’s first recorded trader, Pierre Piché in 1818.

Hub Staff

The Historic Saugeen Métis (HSM) are celebrating the 200th year since the Ojibway Piché Wampum exchange at Saugeen, and have a planned a commemorative year-long celebration.

On June 8 the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre will play host to HSM’s Diplomacy and Trade in the Great Lakes Workshop. The June 8 event is geared towards creating a greater understanding of the history of the Métis people, the local fur trade, and the principles of Wampum diplomacy as respected and practiced 200 years ago at Saugeen.

The story of Métis people across Canada has been largely written over and forgotten and the many years of cultural oppression has resulted in great loss. “The Historic Saugeen Métis are proud of our 200 years of heritage in the area and are excited to share our story and celebrate who we are,” said event organizers.

The Diplomacy & Trade in the Great Lakes event will feature specialized workshops:

Dr. David T. McNab will present ‘Treaties, Trade and Métis Sovereignty in the Great Lakes Watershed’. McNab is a Métis Professor of Indigenous Thought and Canadian Studies in the Departments of Equity Studies and Humanities at York University in Toronto. He was elected to be a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2017.

Jenna McGuire, HSM Councillor and Culture Keeper will present ‘The Significance of Métis Beadwork Artifacts at Saugeen’.

Ken Maracle, Faith Keeper of the Lower Cayuga Longhouse and a member of the Cayuga Nation, Iroquois Confederacy, and Deer Clan will present ‘Wampum Significance in the Haudenosaunee Culture’. Ken Maracle will have Wampum belts on display as part of his presentation.

Métis artifacts as well as other elements of Métis culture will be on display and during the talks HSM will be discussing local Métis cultural identity in the context of the Great Lakes fur trade.

Local author and historian Robin Hilborn will have a table selling signed copies of his new book, ‘The Bruce’ which is a companion book to the documentary series by the same name. The book includes information about the Piché Wampum and Métis history, as well as culture and quotations from HSM Councillor and Culture Keeper Jenna McGuire and HSM Secretary-Treasurer Patsy McArthur; both of whom also appear in the documentary.

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