Women

The notion of inhabited territories, beyond the geographical boundaries established by the settlers, reminds us of the nomadisms at its base and the courage of its settlement phases. The objects presented in this section express resilience and cultural adaptation to territories. The people of the First Nations circulated through these using their ingenious luggage racks. Men and woman each participating, in their own way, in the manufacture of the necessary materials. The artefacts presented here are mainly a reminder of equality in interpersonal relationships, division of labour and even political life between Aboriginal women and men. Since many indigenous nations are matriarchal and/or matrilineal societies, women play an integral role in the group, its organization and the transmission of values.

Used either when travelling or working in the home place, the Algonquin expression "tikinagan" refers to this ingenious indigenous baby carrier, magnificently designed and decorated with floral, animal or celestial motifs. While men construct the wooden structure, also made of tanned and smoked leather or fabric, the skillful sewing of the embroidered is the task of women.

Tikinagan

The manufacture of cedar, birch and ash bark baskets takes us in a journey across the country, from west to east. Along the Pacific Ocean, amongst the Salmon peoples of the West Coast, cedar is used while the Mi'gmaqw of the Atlantic Ocean have perfected the art of making baskets using ash. In Kébeq, the Atikamekw possess a traditional savoir-faire related to their territory, Nikastinan, which makes their wikawamotekaniwon (birch bark) objects renowned.

Bark baskets

Nunavik Inuit sculptures fascinate. Using stone, walrus ivory, caribou antlers or whale bones, the artists create sanannguagaq (ᓴᓇᙳᐊᒐᖅ), which are superb sculptures recounting their cosmogony, the shamanic universe and their mythological stories.  The small sculptures assembled here reflect the daily life of women, some carrying their babies on their backs.

Inuit Sculptures

Sanannguagaq

© Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec,  2018 -