Ethnology Collection

Roger Lewis

Mi’kmaq Cultural Heritage Curator

The ethnology collection consists of numerous items that are both functional and decorative.  Over hundreds of years the Mi’kmaq has mastered an array of complex yet creative techniques they incorporated into cultural objects.

The objects that make up the provincial ethnology collection are seen as ‘living objects ’in the sense that human hands from the past crafted them.  It is important to remember that the maker’s soul breathes within them, making them more than a simple craft.

These objects are derived from the use of an enormous range of raw materials. The ingenious use of those raw materials combined with the impressive quality of their workmanship makes them all the more fascinating and an important component of the cultural heritage of Nova Scotia.

What is equally impressive is the ability of the Mi’kmaq artisan to combine both ‘old and new’ in their work while ensuring the end result remains distinctively Mi’kmaq.

By the early twentieth century many traditional artistic skills were all but forgotten, however, in recent decades we have witnessed a resurgence of these skills.  We are witnessing traditions that have come full circle.   Contemporary Mi’kmaq artisans are incorporating a blending of ‘old and new’ into their own works.   We are seeing the revival of many traditional Mi’kmaq artistic skills, as well as the creation of a modern Mi’kmaq art form that is as distinctively Mi’kmaq today as it was yesterday.