Octopus Bag

Octopus Bag

Cheyenne Schlup

2023

Ebb and Flow First Nation

On loan from Cheyenne Schlup

This is a project I have wanted to do for a while. There are only a handful of quilled octopus bags from the 1840s-50s still in existence to my knowledge. Done completely with real backstrap sinew on traditionally tanned bison hide, all surface-stitched in the old way. I put the flesh side of the hide outwards as was done on a majority of the old work from long ago. All the beads are rare antique Italian glass and the loop dangles are quill-wrapped. I am very proud of this bag and happy with how it turned out!

 

Baby Moccasins

Baby Moccasins

Tashina Houle-Schlup

2023

Ebb and Flow First Nation

On loan from Tashina Houle-Schlup

As a quillworker, I acknowledge the connection the art form has to our ancestors, so for my piece, Abinoojiiyens Makizinan, my Anishinaabe ancestors inspired me in terms of my technique, design and materials.

For these moccasins, I created them in the plains style and decided to add a floral design to pay homage to my roots. I used the straight stitch-down technique and stitched primarily on top of the hide. For the material, I used very soft, traditionally brain-tanned deer hide and a thicker buffalo hide for the soles. I used perfectly sized dyed quills and Italian beads that date back 120+ years.

I also wanted to make them honour moccasins by quilling and beading on the bottom of the soles. I was inspired to do this because of my nieces and nephews, who have brought so much joy and love into my life. Moccasins with beadwork or quillwork on the soles were typically used for ceremonial use. For baby moccasins, they were used mainly for walking-out ceremonies, which celebrated a baby’s first steps and ensured a happy and healthy life.

I decided to do six straight rows of quillwork and bead the edges, using the lay-stitch method, with mountains and four dragonflies. The dragonfly is representative of protection, good health, and a connection to the spirits of our ancestors.

It was a privilege to create these moccasins in honour of our children, as they are the future of our people. I also want to dedicate these moccasins to the remembrance of our babies and children who were lost to Residential Schools.

 

Stone Tools

Stone Tools

Unknown maker

Date unknown

Ebb and Flow First Nation

On loan from William Campbell

These stone tools were found by Jean Baptiste Spence of the Red River Settlement and have been loaned to the exhibit by his great-grandson, Elder William Campbell of Ebb and Flow First Nation. When working for a non-Indigenous farmer, Spence was plowing near what is now Highway 16 and Highway 50 when he unearthed the tools. They are believed to have been alkali tools used in the grinding of salt.