Indigenous Cultures - McCord Stewart Museum

Collections and Research

Moccasins, Nêhiyawak, 1920. Gift of the Art Association of Montreal, ME928.8.1-2 © McCord Stewart Museum

Indigenous Cultures

The Indigenous Cultures collection is composed of over 16,000 archaeological and historical objects covering nearly 12,000 years of history. Eloquent examples of the material culture of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living primarily in Canada but also in regions of the United States, Siberia and Greenland, these items reflect the great diversity and richness of Indigenous cultures.
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Clothing and accessories comprise over a quarter of the historic objects; the oldest date back to the late 18th century while the most recent were created in the 21st century. The collection also features everyday objects, mainly from the 19th and early 20th centuries: bowls, spoons, baskets and other domestic items, weapons of war, hunting and fishing equipment, materials related to transportation, as well as masks, drums and other ceremonial objects. Many items exemplify the creative integration of Indigenous forms and Euro-Canadian styles.

Objects from the Arctic regions represent one of the largest parts of the collection, thanks to their geographical and historical scope, while those from the Eastern Woodlands and the Northwest Coast are among the most outstanding for their age and rarity.

The collection includes over 8,500 archaeological objects, such as potsherds and stone and bone tools. These articles were found across Canada and the Northeastern US, but mostly in Ontario and Quebec.

  • Purse, Métis, 1880-1890. Gift of M. Julien F. Gaudet, ME988.136.6 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Parka, Yu'pik from Sivuqaq, 1910-1915. Gift of Dr. Philip N. Cronenwett, ME986.62 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Handkerchief case, Huron-Wendat, 1850-1900. Gift of Henry W. Hill, ME938.10 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Moccasins, Nêhiyawak, 1920. Gift of the Art Association of Montreal, ME928.8.1-2 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Dance stick, Nakoda, 1865-1900. Gift of Mabel Molson, M5396 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Basket painted by Charles Edenshaw and woven by his wife Isabella Edenshaw, Haida, 1921. Gift of the Art Association of Montreal, ACC1811 © McCord Stewart Museum

Jonathan Lainey

Jonathan joined the McCord Museum team in 2020. His areas of interests include the social, political and cultural history of Indigenous peoples in Quebec and Canada, particularly wampum belts and the Huron-Wendat Nation. He is especially interested in the history of objects and collections over time.

Meet curator Jonathan Lainey and learn more about his expertise and his work.
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Indigenous communities seeking information about cultural objects from the Museum’s Indigenous Cultures Collection, please contact:

Not to be missed!

Not to be missed!