M87.2 | Collar

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Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Mi'kmaq or Maliseet
1840-1860, 19th century
Velveteen, cotton cloth, metal sequins, glass beads, porcelain button, cotton thread
20.3 x 24.6 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Collar (10)
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Keys to History

Here is a representation of the mythical "Indian." It is unlikely that the Mi'kmaq wore clothes resembling these in their daily lives, whether before or after the arrival of Europeans. This is probably a parade outfit created to represent, according to the perceptions of those living in the Victorian era, Aboriginal clothing of long ago. In fact, these outfits were likely modelled on the "Indian" on the Nova Scotia coat of arms. Note, for example, the feather headdress.

Public holidays were occasions for the Mi'kmaq to perform their dances, thus affirming their identity to Euro-Canadians. We can see just such an occasion at this event in Shubenacadie.

  • What

    This is a somewhat unusual dance outfit. It is believed that these garments were created as "traditional" costumes for groups of Mi'kmaq and Maliseet.

  • Where

    The origin of these outfits is not certain, but they are believed to come from the Maritime Provinces.

  • When

    This outfit may have been made in 1860 on the occasion of the Prince of Wales' visit to eastern Canada.

  • Who

    This outfit may have been worn by a Mi'kmaq or Maliseet who took part in performances given for the Prince of Wales in 1860. It is known, however, that similar clothing was worn at various late-19th-century public festivities by the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet of Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia.