Nicholette Prince had her dream job.
Working as an ethnographer for the Canadian Museum of Civilization, she and Jean-Luc Pilon, the archeological expert, collaborated on creating a traveling exhibition of treasures from the museum’s collection of indigenous artifacts.
The exhibition was put together for the olympics in Beijing, China, and then traveled from there to Hanover, Germany; Osaka, Japan; and Mexico City, Mexico.
The treasures were a new concept in some ways for the Chinese, said Prince, as the traditional concept of a treasure in China would be something made of precious metals or other valuable materials.
Prince presented at talk and slideshow at the Fort St. James Bicentennial Library Nov. 12 on the exhibit and to also present on the book published about the exhibit and the artifacts.
The book, published by University of Toronto Press, is full of beautiful photographs of the pieces from the exhibit and stories and explanations put together by Prince and de Pilon.
The book is titled First Peoples of Canada: Masterworks from the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
In the talk, Prince spoke about some of the challenges of putting together such a relatively limited exhibit from the significant collection of artifacts of First Peoples from across the country.
The small grouping attempted to touch on First Peoples from across the country and were grouped geographically, with small items even from the now-extinct Beothuk people of Newfoundland.
Prince told some really interesting stories and some of the beliefs around certain pieces (did you know Inuit believed whales spend their lives thirsty because they live in salt water? So they had special buckets for whaling filled with water to give the whale a drink of fresh water when they killed it).
The exhibit gave a great display of the diversity of the First Peoples of Canada from across the country.
From the eastern Iroquois to those of the Great Plains to the arctic and the west coast, there were some incredible examples of artifacts and artwork.
Eighteen people came out to hear Prince and also to see photos on display by Dennis Cumberland.
He had some large prints of some incredible photographs. One was a compilation of a number of images stitched together of a ceremony inside a long house, one was a compilation of many photographs of pictographs in the area and one was on loan from the District of Fort St. James, the photograph of the Stuart Lake pictographs normally on display in the council chambers.