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Beaded Metis Buffalo Hunter’s Saddle

Mr. Rick Cuthbertson recently donated to The Manitoba Museum a beaded Métis pad saddle.  His maternal grandfather, Constable Joseph Alexander Blackburn, bought the saddle when he was in what is now Saskatchewan at the time of the Riel Rebellion.  He was stationed at Maple Creek and Medicine Hat from May of 1885 to April 1890 and was among the officers who formed the guard for the Riel trial.
Photo courtesy of Rick Cuthbertson family. Used with permission. 

The saddle is typical of those used by members of the Métis buffalo brigades and illustrated in the paintings of Paul Kane.  The beading is the work of an expert artist.  The beads are small and sewn with very fine sinew rather than linen or cotton thread and although it impossible to say for sure, it was probably made in the early 1800s.

 

 

 H4-2-199. The Manitoba Museum. Photo M. Matthews

 

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Dr. Maureen Matthews

Curator of Cultural Anthropology

See Full Biography

Dr. Maureen Matthews, Curator of Ethnology joined The Manitoba Museum staff in November 2011. She is a CBC Radio documentary maker and has received four awards for Investigative Journalism from the Canadian Association of Journalists for her work for IDEAS on Cree and Ojibwe ideas about the world. Her documentaries include Fair Wind’s Drum (1993), Thunderbirds (1995), Memegwesiwag (2007) and Wihtigo: Cree Ideas about Cannibals (2010) and she also received a Manitoba Human Rights award for Isinamowin: The White Man’s Indian (1990), a documentary about the harmful consequences of stereotypes about Aboriginal people. She recently completed a D. Phil. in Social and Cultural Anthropology (2010) at the University of Oxford with a thesis on the attribution of animacy and agency to museum artefacts from a joint Ojibwe and Anthropological theoretical perspective.