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We Have a New Treasure and an Unsolved Mystery in the Ethnology Department.

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Kolb beaded panel, Closeup

We would love to know who made this beautiful beadwork.
A few years ago, Mrs. Arlene Kolb purchased this beaded panel in the Value Village shop on Regent Street because she loves handmade things. “I feel that the people making these items were content and focused on what they were doing. They put the effort into making something special,” she told me. After a year of enjoying it, she brought it to the musem and it happened that  there were a couple of Manitoba’s finest beading experts in the museum, Dr. Sherry Farrel Racette of the University of Manitoba Native Studies Department and Jennine Krauchi, one of our foremost beadwork artists. They took one look at the colours, the size of the beads and the pattern and confidently dated it to the 1830s or earlier and were pretty sure it was a Metis woman who made it. The colours of beads and fabric changed after the 1850′s with the introdution of ananline dyes. The teltale beads on this piece are are a muted pink, a colour they call greasy yellow and facetted metal beads all of which predate analine dyes.

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Please share this blogpost with anyone who might know about the history  of this marvellous beadwork because we would like to re-establish its broken family ties.

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Dr. Maureen Matthews

Curator of Ethnology

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.