It was standing room only at the recent opening of the ‘Voices of Chief’s Point’ exhibit at the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre.
Saugeen First Nation Elder and former chief, Vernon Roote opened the exhibit
Anishinaabe culture has traditionally been passed down orally from generation to generation using songs and stories.
In 1938, Robert and Eliza Thompson, residents of Chief’s Point in the Saugeen Territory, shared Anishinaabeg songs and stories with Dr. Edwin Seaborn who created audio recordings on wax cylinders.
During her PhD research, Dr. Bimadoshka Pucan of Saugeen First Nation, discovered the recordings that had been kept in the basement of Dr. Seaborn until 1975 when they were donated to the University of London (ON) and, then finally, were digitized.
“I want the young people in our community to listen to the songs over and over because the more they listen the more they will hear,” said Pucan. “Thompson’s mother was a Southampton Metis and we should be talking about our shared history and that we are all related. The Indian Act is really a driving force that separates our nation. These songs are from a time before our people were put on reservations and we were part of one big Anishinaabeg nation. So, let’s tell the stories of what we know about Chief’s Point, about Saugeen, about Southampton. Let’s work together to protect this area, to protect the environment and our waters for the future. Let’s make this a fabulous place for our future generations.”
Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre is now hosting the exhibit that was developed in partnership with Museum London, Saugeen First Nation, University of Western Ontario, and funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Society of United Professionals. Museum Director Cathy McGirr said that the Museum is also working on an educational outreach program that will take place for the duration of the exhibit to bring students in to see the exhibit and learn more about its history.
Dr. Pucan, keynote speaker at the exhibit opening, was emotional when she said that she had gone through difficult times to attain her education and that discovering the recordings and ensuring that they would be retained for future generations was all important.
County Councilor and Mayor of South Bruce, Bob Buckle said, “It is very important that our young people learn about what has happened in the past that has brought us to where we are today.”
The exhibit remains at the Museum until December 14th.