A Visit to Red Indian Lake in the Summer of 2009: Mi’kmaq and Where’s the Beothuk? A Mi’kmaq Curator Tracks Frank G. Speck’s Visit to Red Indian Lake in 1914

Stephen Augustine, Curator of Eastern Maritime Ethnology, Canadian Museum of Civilization; Mi'kmaq hereditary chief

IARC Speaker Series, SAR Boardroom

Thursday, May 13, 2010, 5:30–6:30 pm

Stephen AugustineStephen AugustineStephen AugustineStephen AugustinePhotograph courtesy of Stephen Augustine. 
Stephen AugustineStephen Augustine 

As part of a Mi’kmaq basketry project, Mi’kmaq curator of Ethnology Stephen Augustine visits Red Indian Lake in the summer of 2009 with the hopes of meeting the descendants of the Mi’kmaq people interviewed and photographed by Frank G. Speck, an American anthropologist from the University of Pennsylvania. Augustine subsequently met with grandchildren of John Paul, who was an informant and guide to Frank Speck during his visit to Newfoundland in 1914. Jerome Paul was able to provide names of family members who were photographed by Speck, names that were not collected with the photographs. There were 57 artifacts that were collected by Speck and these were sent to the National Museum of Canada, which is now called the Canadian Museum of Civilization. In Mi’kmaq & Maliseet Cultural Ancestral Material: National Collections from the Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2003: ETH 140, Augustine used one of the Speck photos taken in Newfoundland in 1914—that of Maggie Paul, daughter of John Paul and aunt of Jerome Paul interviewed in Badger on the Exploits River in Newfoundland. The caribou skin capote that Maggie Paul was wearing and the Red Indian doll “gaugiwal” she was holding were collected by Frank Speck in 1914 and are in the museum’s collection. The presentation will reflect a Mi’kmaq perspective on putting human dimension to artifacts that have been sitting in a museum’s collections for a long time.

Listen to Stephen Augustine’ Presentation on “A Visit to Red Indian Lake in the Summer of 2009”
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Stephen Augustine is the Museum of Civilization’s Curator of Ethnology for the Eastern Maritimes. An elder of the Elsipogtog (Big Cove) First Nation in New Brunswick and Hereditary Chief of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, he is a renowned storyteller and an expert on the traditional practices, language, and history of his people.

Augustine was honored in 2009 with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Culture, Heritage, and Spirituality. He has organized cross-cultural workshops and shared his expertise with many organizations, including the United Nations, the Assembly of First Nations, government departments, and various First Nations communities across Canada. His book Mi’kmaq & Maliseet Cultural Ancestral Material (Mercury Series, CMC, 2005) is a valuable resource for academic researchers and educators alike.

Reading List

Augustine, Stephen J. Mi'kmaq & Maliseet Cultural Ancestral Material: National Collections from the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Gatineau, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, 2005.

Marshall, Ingeborg. A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk. Montreal, Quebec: McGill Queen's University Press, 1996.

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