Ojibwe Culture Foundation launches new exhibit and holds treaty commemoration

by Robin Burridge

MANITOULIN—The Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (OCF) in M’Chigeeng has been busy preparing for two important summer events: the launch of their greatly anticipated exhibit, ‘Marks of Leadership’ and the 175th commemoration of the treaty signing of 1836 in Manitowaning.

‘Marks of Leadership,’ opening on August 2, will feature one of the two original 1836 treaties on loan from Library and Archives Canada as well as gorgets, a wampum belt, headdresses, chief medals (or ‘marks’) and accessories borrowed from the McCord Museum in Montreal and there is the opportunity to compare the Anishinaabe ‘marks of leadership’ to the British marks. Paintings of past chiefs will also be on display including Chief Assiginack, Chief Mookomaaanish, Chief Paimausegai, Chief Itawachkach and Chief Shawunauseway.

The backdrop for the exhibit will be a large mural depicting images of the 1836 treaty signing, along with an overall theme of the historical tie between past and present by Blake Debassige, commissioned by the OCF.

The 175th commemorative treaty signing of 1836 will take place next Tuesday, August 9, beginning with a sunrise ceremony in Manitowaning, at the bottom of Queen Street by the Bay of Manitowaning (near the Burns Wharf Theatre).

OCF executive director Alan Corbiere told The Expositor that he hopes to have representatives from the original clans and descendents of the chiefs who signed the treaty, including as descendants of the bear, moose, black water snake, eagle, crane, pike, squirrel and rooster clans.

“I hope this exhibit and the treaty commemoration show the Anishinaabe people of Manitoulin that we are connected to a rich history,” said Mr. Corbiere. “History is not detached from us despite the fact that our local history has not been taught to us in schools. The reason I hope the descendants of the signatory chiefs come out and attend the commemoration is because we were a people that followed hereditary chieftainship and that has been supplanted by the elected system. These chiefs were from specific clans and were selected to continue the hereditary honor of chieftainship in that family. This is the connection I hope the Anishinaabe get from this, especially the youth.”