4047 | Box

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About 1875, 19th century
14.7 x 21.3 x 21.5 cm
Gift of Miss Roche
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

Mi'kmaq First Nation lives along the eastern shore of New Brunswick and possesses a language and culture distinct from those of Wolastoqiyik. Traditionally, spring, summer and early fall found Mi'kmaq fishing along the tidal zones. The colder season brought a move inland to hunt large game such as moose and caribou.

Birch bark canoes and familiar portage routes provided swift communication along the river systems for much of the year. This united Mi'kmaq across their vast territory. Maintaining the natural state of their specific territory contributed to the difference in culture between them and Wolastoqiyik.

In the late 19th century Mi'kmaq produced traditional decorative pieces for sale or trade, such as this quill box.

Source : Window on the World: The Rivers of New Brunswick [Web tour], by New Brunswick Museum (see Links)

  • What

    The quills used are obtained from the Eastern Porcupine, which has between 20 000 to 30 000 quills.

  • Where

    Traditionally, Mi'kmaq obtained dyes for the quills from natural sources such as bark or plants.

  • When

    After the porcupine was plucked, the quills were cleaned, dyed and sorted according to size.

  • Who

    Skills such as quillwork were passed from generation to generation with children receiving instruction from their parents and grandparents.