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Celebrating the Original Canadians

At the same time as the Guild members were exploring the craft traditions of the new Canadians, they were also recognizing the varied work of the Aboriginal Peoples.

Birchbark basket with spruce root around rim and at corners. Cultural origin unknown.

Birchbark basket with spruce root around rim and at corners. Cultural origin unknown.

Bandolier, likely Saultaux, fully embroidered and with wool tassels at bottom.

Bandolier, likely Saultaux, fully embroidered and with wool tassels at bottom.

Athabaskan mittens with silk ribbon embroidery.

Athabaskan mittens with silk ribbon embroidery.

The Manitoba Branch admired the splendid work of northern Aboriginal groups: basketry and beadwork, featuring beautiful dyes that came from native plants such as willow, spruce, goldenrod and many lichens.

Moccasin with silk embroidery, porcupine quills and horsehair piping. Cultural origin unknown.

Moccasin with silk embroidery, porcupine quills and horsehair piping. Cultural origin unknown.

Loom woven band of porcupine quills, likely Plains.

Loom woven band of porcupine quills, likely Plains.

Embroidered napkin ring holder, likely produced for the tourist trade.

Embroidered napkin ring holder, likely produced for the tourist trade.

Caribou tufting.

Caribou tufting.

These craftspeople masterfully chose colours and stitched their special embroideries. As this interest in northern Native crafts developed, it encompassed the magnificent Inuit soap stone sculptures that reflected the strong life force of both animals and humans alike. The first shipment arrived in 1952 and for many years, the Manitoba Branch was the sole agent for Inuit carvings in the province.