Honouring Indigenous Aid Virtual Exhibit

This virtual exhibit pays tribute to the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee & Huron-Wendat Indigenous peoples in Canada West (now Ontario) and Choctaw and Cherokee Nations in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) who contributed to Irish Famine relief in 1847.

It features newly discovered archival records of the former that contain detailed evidence of collective decision-making and deliberations in Council to provide aid for the Irish. The Anishinaabe letters are marked with their doodems (totems) that ratify treaty relations with other Indigenous peoples and the Crown. These donations were offered in the context of increasing settler encroachment when First Nations and Native Americans were facing considerable privation and broken treaty relations.

Bronze Shoes and Moccasins: First Nations and Famine Irish Forced Migration

Bronze Shoes and Moccasins: First Nations and Famine Irish Forced Migration tells the story of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation that generously contributed to Irish Famine Relief in Canada West on 22 March 1847, even while they were being removed from their homes without knowing where they would resettle. The film also explores the role of European settlers, including the mass influx of Famine Irish emigrants, in dispossessing Indigenous peoples from their land.

Indian Agent Thomas Gummersal Anderson Circular 17 March 1847

Indian Agent Thomas Gummersal Anderson Circular Transcript

Anderson Circular Page 2

Mississagaugas of the Credit Famine Relief Letter March 22 1847

Mississagaugas Relief Letter – page 2

Mississaugas of the Credit Famine Relief Letter Transcript

The painting pays tribute to Chiefs Peter Jones (also known as Kahkewaquonaby, or Sacred Feathers) and Joseph Sawyer (also known as Newechekeshequeby, or Sloping Sky) who contributed to Irish Famine relief on behalf of their people. It is rendered in the Anishinaable Woodlands Style with a subtle Irish motif. The film also spotlights Akwesasne artist Cheyenne Lazore who created a ribbon skirt with Irish symbols to honour Ireland Lacrosse for ceding its place so that the Iroquois Nationals could play in the 2022 World Games.

Chief Joseph Sawyer

Chief Peter Jones in 1845

Designer Cheyenne Lazore with a photograph of Sky Timmons wearing the Ribbon Skirt that she created.

Cheyenne Lazore Ribbon Skirt Detail

Honouring Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee & Huron-Wendat Irish Famine Aid

Honouring Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee & Huron-Wendat Irish Famine Aid pays tribute to the Indigenous peoples in Canada West (now Ontario) who contributed to Irish Famine relief in 1847. Based on newly discovered archival records, it tells the story of their efforts to help alleviate Irish hunger. The film features Indigenous descendants from donor communities in Ontario reflecting on the compassion of their ancestors. They had donated over £170 in response to a plea for aid from Indian Agent Thomas Gummersal Anderson on St Patrick’s Day, 1847.

Chemong Curve Lake Letter Irish Famine Relief April 5 1847

Chemong Lake Famine Relief Letter Transcript

Paul Kane “Ojibbeway Chief” painting. The Ojibwa of Saugeen Lake contributed to Irish Famine relief.

Beausoleil Island Famine Relief letter Transcript

Lake Scugog Famine Relief Letter March 30 1847

Lake Scugog Famine Relief Letter Transcript

Chippewas of Sarnia Famine Relief Letter

Chippewas of Sarnia Famine Relief Letter transcript

Rice Lake Famine Relief letter detailed March 27 1847

Rice Lake Famine Relief letter detailed March 27 1847

Rice Lake Famine Relief Letter Transcript

Six Nations of the Grand River Famine Relief letter cover May 5 1847

Six Nations of the Grand River Famine Relief letter cover May 5 1847

Six Nations Famine Relief Letter Transcript

Tyendinaga Letter Transcript

Tyendinaga Letter Translated into Mohawk by Nathan Brinklow

Honouring Choctaw and Cherokee Irish Famine Aid

Honouring Choctaw and Cherokee Irish Famine Aid explores the archival record and artistic legacies of Native American contributions to help alleviate Irish suffering during the Great Hunger in 1847. The film features artistic works commemorating these Indigenous acts of giving such as the “Kindred Spirits” monument in Midleton, County Cork, Sam Guerrero Stitt’s “Eternal Heart” sculpture in the Choctaw Capitol Grounds in Tuskahoma, Oklahoma, and Brendan O’Neill’s “The Gift” in the Choctaw Cultural Center, Durant, Oklahoma, and the National Famine Museum, Strokestown Park. The film also features a performance of Steve Gardner’s musical adaptation “The Gift” based on LeAnne Howe and Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s “Singing Still: Libretto for the 1847 Choctaw Gift to the Irish for Famine Relief” that was performed at the National Famine Museum.

Choctaw Artist and Scholar LeAnne Howe at National Famine Museum

The casting of Brendan O’Neill’s sculpture “The Gift.”

Brendan O’Neill’s “The Gift” Sculpture at the National Famine Museum

Sculptor Brendan O’Neill and “The Gift”, National Famine Museum