Tuesday, June 26, 2012

July 12th Chapter Meeting Speaker: Hugh Barnett on After Huronia: Migration, marriage and industry of Huron-Ouendat women in the years following 1650

July 12, 2012 OAS Huronia Chapter Meeting Speaker: Hugh Barnett

After Huronia: Migration, marriage and industry of Huron-Ouendat women in the years following 1650

Contrary to what many of us are taught in our grade school history classes, the Huron-Ouendat peoples did not simply “disappear” after the Iroquois invasions of 1649.  Survivors dispersed themselves across several diverse regions, from Québec to the modern day mid-west.  Examining the life and livelihood of one particular Huron-Ouendat woman, Marie Félix DuBocq, University of Toronto student (and Étienne Brûlé impersonator) Hugh Barnett narrates her journey from Ossossane in the 1640’s to her subsequent adventures throughout New France and beyond, demonstrating the remarkable ability of one Huron-Ouendat woman to adapt and adjust to an entirely new set of circumstances following the ‘disaster’ of 1649.  

Hugh Barnett is a founding member of Humber River Shakespeare, a classical theatre company based in Toronto and York Region with a central mandate committed to heritage and early Canadian stories.  He is currently entering his fourth year of studies at the University of Toronto, where he focuses on History, Anthropology and Aboriginal Studies. 

Meeting Details:
Meeting held at Huronia Museum on July 12th at 7 pm, presentation open to the public, chapter business meeting which follows the presentation is open only to chapter members.
Huronia Museum  +  Native Village -- 549 Little Lake Park Rd. Midland, Ont.  (705) 526 2844

Following meeting:
August 9th - Prof. John Steckley - "What it is like to be a Deer, a Snake, a Prairie Turtle....: Writing a clan-based history of the Wyandot." 

Chapter member finds new site.

On a tip from an acquaintance, Gary Dubeau of our chapter located a previously unfound  site in a county forest. Gary spotted what looked like a midden on the far side of a creek and upon further investigation located sufficient artifacts to confirm the midden and hence the existence of a site. Unfortunately the site has been partly looted. Gary asked if I knew of a site in that location and after a search of my database I was not able to confirm any site within the county forest. While there are sites in the vicinity, this site appears new. Gary took Marg, Jamie and myself to the location and while Jamie first thought that this was BeGx-9, upon arriving there he said that he knew it as the Williams site but had never found it. As follow up, I advised Dr Alicia Hawkins of the site and after conferring with the ministry confirmed that it is a new non registered site. Alicia and I visited the site, GPS'd the location and confirmed the presence of sufficient artifacts to proceed with bordenizing the site.
Some comments from Alicia to the ministry:

"I am attaching several photos I took of an unregistered site in north Simcoe that is being looted. There were backdirt piles along the embankment, a number of holes, all of them along the edge of the creek, and even a hoe! Judging from the growth of vegetation on the backdirt piles, the activity has been recent, but not very recent. Like maybe last fall.

 The site is village sized with deep middens. I didn't see any trade goods and all we did was a walk-over, so there was not a whole lot that is diagnostic, but I would say it is Huron-Wendat - contact or precontact.
 I have mostly filled out the Borden form, which I will fax to you. The site is owned by Simcoe County - it is in a Simcoe County forest.
 The Huronia chapter is considering doing a public arch day aimed at screening the backdirt piles and attempting to stabilize the banks, if we can get the permissions. This would be for mid August."

Congratulation Gary - good eye and thank you Alicia for the interest and follow up.
Stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Repatriation - a right or responsibility?

One of the sessions chaired by Alicia Hawkins at the Wendat/Wyendot conference noted in the previous post was on the subject of the Wendat of Quebec and their developing relationship with the Province of Ontario with particular regard to archaeology the preservation of the Huron/Wendat sites in this province. One of the most pressing issues has been that of the repatriation of human remains, funeral articles and other sacred items from museums and other institutions that have collected, studied and housed these items over the past 150 years.
In 1999, through the sacrificial efforts and years of work of Michelle Gros-Louis and Annette Vincent, the ROM returned the human remains and artifacts exhumed from the ossuary at National Historic site of Ossossane to the Wendat community for repatriation to the place from where they came.
In late September of this year after lengthy negotiations the Wendat Nation will repatriate the human remains and funeral items collected, studied and housed at the U of T. This repatriation will take place at a site near Klienburg Ont.and will mark another milestone in restoring relationships between the archaeological community and the historic First Nation whose civilization we have been researching since the time when Europeans first settled here and found the evidence of prior occupation in their farm fields
In the US there are laws that mandate repatriation, not so here in Canada. These laws in the US have been in effect for the past 20 years and the repatriation efforts continue. In Canada, at least in Ontario some progress has been but is it enough? Do the First Nations have to have repatriation seen as their right and negotiate for the care of their ancestors or is it the responsibility of the various museums and other institutions to seek out the appropriate First Nation and return these sacred remains to the descendants who can give them the dignity that we all would hope our ancestors deserve. 
On the question of repatriation the the following site is well worth a read - http://www.hnn.us/articles/134757.html

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wendat/Wyendot conference

Marg and I spent the end of last week and part of the weekend in attendance at a Wendat/Wyendot conference organized by Laval U and hosted by the Wendat at their hotel/museum complex in Wendake Que. Congratulation for all involved for a job well done.
I attended as a co presenter with Dr Alicia Hawkins who did an excellent job organizing and chairing a number of sessions on archaeology in Ontario. In our joint session we attempted to outline the role of avocational archaeologists and the contributions they have made to date in our knowledge base of Old Wendake now known as Huronia. Alicia covered the history of archaeology in Huronia using the works of AF Hunter and F Ridley as examples and then went on to outline the role of the OAS in promoting the practices of "ethical archaeology". My task was to introduce the role of the local OAS chapters with a focus on the Huronia Chapter and work we have done including and example of advocacy (the Bell Mobility tower/Ossossane). Alicia then illustrated the case of the metal detecting incident at the Thompson Walker site and the implications and impact of incidents like this on the preservation of archaeological resources here or elsewhere.
The presentations at these events are, for the most part, are quite interesting and informative. In addition to the sessions on the history and archaeology of the Wendat/Wyendot community were sessions on the culture with a focus on the traditions, governance, language, arts and future relationship of this widely dispersed First Nation that for a time at least was native to Canada and more specifically, for a couple of hundred years or more to Huronia.
Beyond the educational value of attendance at these conferences is the networking that takes place. The renewal of friends and acquaintances and the development of new ones. As with Champlain, it is important that we recognize that we can only move forward with our endevours at the behest of our allies and friends, that we are not the leaders but merely the followers in the quest for a better understanding of the history that we all share.

fyi link to The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada

The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada is the first-ever pan-Canadian benchmark for heritage conservation practice in this country. It offers results-oriented guidance for sound decision-making when planning for, intervening on and using historic places. This document establishes a consistent, pan-Canadian set of conservation principles and guidelines that will be useful to anyone with an interest in conserving Canada's historic places.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Artifact Workshop at June 14th Chapter Meeting – Jamie Hunter

At the June 14th meeting of the Huronia Chapter of the OAS, a different kind of presentation took place.  Not the usual speaker with a digital projector and a Powerpoint presentation, but a hands-on workshop in the handling of artifacts.

Jamie Hunter, Huronia Museum Curator, brought out several dozen pot sherds and other pieces from a family farm in the area that were donated to the Huronia Museum. No one had worked with them.  He passed out toothbrushes for us to “dry brush” clean off the pieces.

The next step was to explain what to look for, how to sort pieces into rim, neck, complete body piece (two smooth sides), and one-sided body pieces.  All the sorted pieces were brought together on one table.  After more study, the preliminary conclusion was that we appeared to have one Huron style pot, one side point pot, and some pipe pieces, a fire-cracked stone, and some possibly worked stone tools. Jamie went on to explain about “temper”, material added to clay pots to better influence firing results.

all photos by Bill Gibson

body pieces

all the categorized sherds gathered on one table

smaller sized pot

note castellation on the top left of the rim

castellation example in centre of rim edge

He then took the group into the archaeology room of the Huronia Museum to show various pot sherds, reconstructed pots, and a copper trade pot (the new technology introduced by the French). He explained about “castellation” on the rims of some pots.  Then he underlined the “trap” of earlier pot analysis by archaeologists focused almost entirely on pot sherds rather than a pot as a whole unit.   Castellation examples on display in the museum range from a smaller pot with four “castles” and a large pot with just one castle point on the rim.

I was fortunate to have Kristin Thor as my dry brush and sorting partner.  She helped me when I got off-track.  Jamie explained everything in a simple, clear way.  It was a fun and educational workshop.

- by Bill Gibson

For more information on Iroquoian pottery see:


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tay Township Heritage Committee information sharing blog.

Tay Township Heritage Committee has begun an information sharing blog.


Bill Gibson who is a member of the committee and a member of the Huronia Chapter of the OAS assisted in the set up and initial publications of this community heritage information resource.

Links are provided to get you to detailed information on heritage buildings.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

A hands-on collections workshop with Jamie Hunter Thursday June 14th

Thursday June 14th - OAS Huronia Chapter meeting at 7:00 pm at the Huronia Museum in Midland with a presentation/workshop with Jamie Hunter (Curator, Huronia Museum) - a hands on collections workshop with archaeological artifacts.  Best to wear "it's okay if these get a little dirty work clothes" to this event.  Regular chapter business meeting to follow.

upcoming meetings
July 12th - Hugh Barnett - 
the Arontio family of Ossossane
August 9th - Prof. John Steckley - "What it is like to be a Deer, a Snake, a Prairie Turtle....: Writing a clan-based history of the Wyandot." .