ME966.172 | Mokuk

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Anonyme - Anonymous
Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Anishinaabe
1865, 19th century
Birchbark, spruce root, porcupine quills, synthetic dyes, maple sugar
8 x 6.5 x 12.1 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Mokuk (1)
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Keys to History

Mokuks were birchbark containers made mainly by the Ojibwas in the Great Lakes region.

During the second half of the 19th century, the increasing numbers of steamers and the construction of railroads favoured the rise of tourism in the region bordering the St. Lawrence River, from Montreal to the Great Lakes. Around 1867, for example, there were trains that went directly to Niagara Falls. Some of the Native villages in these regions, including St. Regis and Kahnawake, became known as places where it was easy to buy Native souvenirs.

However, it was possible to obtain Native souvenirs in places other than the villages, since Amerindians travelled to sell their products - going, for example, to train stations and Niagara Falls. Starting in the 1830s, that city became the tourist destination par excellence in North America, particularly for honeymoons.

  • What

    Natives used mokuks for storage and cooking. This one was made for tourists.

  • Where

    Tourists who bought souvenirs in Native villages had the impression they were buying authentic articles.

  • When

    This souvenir was purchased during the second half of the 19th century. During this period, tourism was gaining in popularity.

  • Who

    Travellers liked to bring back souvenirs for their friends and family. An inscription indicates that this mokuk was given as a present to: "Jenny, from Dear Mama, Wednesday, 14th June 1865."