M3 | Crucifix

Anonyme - Anonymous
Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Maliseet
1750-1760, 18th century
Bone, cotton cloth
5.4 x 12.2 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Crucifix (7)
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Keys to History

Materials were not the only thing exchanged between the Mi'kmaq and Europeans: the latter also brought numerous diseases to which the Aboriginal peoples of North America had no natural immunity. As a result of what is now called the "globalization of pathogens", epidemics wiped out entire communities of Mi'kmaq; nonetheless, the people and their identity survived the devastation.

Meetings of the Mi'kmaq and Euro-Canadians also led to discussions about beliefs, customs, world views, superior beings, and society in general.

  • What

    This crucifix is fashioned from several pieces of bone.

  • Where

    This crucifix was used in one of the French missions on Cape Breton Island, in Nova Scotia, but it is not known if it was made there.

  • When

    In the 17th and 18th centuries, France sent missionaries among the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet. This crucifix was made in the mid-18th century, a period when the French sought favour with the Mi'kmaq and support in their conflicts against the English.

  • Who

    This crucifix might be the work of a Mi'kmaq or Maliseet artist, although it might also have been made by a European. Bone was to the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet a traditional material, widely used before the arrival of Europeans.