Nova Scotia Museum
Mi'kmaq Portraits Collection


Date: 1890-1895 ca


Orignal Work:

Ownership/Collection: A. R. Cogswell Collection

Source: Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management

Reference Number: 1992.414.71/ N-3795

Please contact Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management for use of this image.


All three people wear the strange non-traditional costume which begins to appear in photographs around 1890, probably coming into use at the behest of a Catholic priest in order to draw tourists and their money to St. Anne's Day celebrations. Such outfits are apparently based on the "Indian" on the Nova Scotia coat of arms, which in turn seems to have been based on early French drawings of Brazilian natives. Four of these costumes are preserved in the collection of the McCord Museum of Canadian History, Montréal; they are described as having been worn by Mi'kmaq and Maliseet dancers performing before the Prince of Wales in 1860. [For more information see Ruth Holmes Whitehead, Elitekey, Halifax, Nova Scotia Museum, 1980; Ruth Holmes Whitehead, "A Brief Glimpse of Micmac Life: Objects from the McCord Collection," Wrapped in the Colours of the Earth, Montréal, McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1992:75-83.]


men, women; children; headdresses, feather; dance costumes; wigwams, brush

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