Glooscape Heritage Centre (GHC), - which is also called Mikmaq Museum – is one of best native museum in Maritime Canada. They are located in Truro, Nova Scotia. I was volunteering overthere during 3 months in Youth Leaders in Action Programme with Canada World Youth in partnership with Kemenpora RI (Ministry of Youth and Sport – Indonesia).
GHC look like really try to perceive what is real meaning of museum. Muse, in English means 'contemplate'. Then, museum could means a place contemplate the history. Learning, more than just receiving, but also thinking; muses about its value. GHC did this role pretty good.
GHC has a variety of methods to transfer the value of the history contained in their museum. Mik'maq Museum explains about the first nation history of maritime Canada. They make a variety of games and attractions that are depended to the needs and types of visitors.
While travelling through the GHC you will find yourself discovering hundreds of years of history and culture. You will be introduced to a variety of stone tools and early weavings, which were fundamental to the survival of the Mi’kmaw people for many generations. As you move throughout the centre you will be able to imagine yourself in a time and place when living off the land’s resources was essential for survival. The ancestors of today’s Mi’kmaq knew the land intimately, its seasons, its animals, its plants and its mineral resources.
As you continue on the tour, you will view exhibit cases that contain porcupine quillwork and beadwork, observing that as early as the eighteenth century, Mi’kmaw women saw that their artwork found a ready market with European settlers. Miniature baskets with intricate detail, beaded pincushions and vibrant quill placemats are just a few of the items on display at the Centre.
Cultures must evolve and adapt to survive. Over the following centuries the Mi'kmaq readily adopted new materials, techniques and styles, incorporating these elements into the many contemporary forms of artwork which are also on display.
To highlight the tour of the centre, be sure to take time to view the multimedia presentation, where Glooscap will guide you through the rich history of the Mi’kmaq people, their trials, tribulations and triumphs.
By the end of your visit you will see, how the Mi’kmaq have survived for generations, how the legends of Glooscap hold significant meaning for understanding the landscape of Nova Scotia and where the Mi’kmaq strive to be in the future.
In addition they also present a variety of workshops as advanced levels for visitors who want to learn more about their culture. Official website of GHC writes description about some of them.
The first one is Kawiey aq Wayo'pskiey (Quillwork and Beadwork). As early as the eighteenth centrury, Mi'kmaw saw that their artwork found a ready made martket for European settlers. The Mi'kmaq would create boxes and containers out of birchbark and apply porcupine quills to the bark, flattend to the surface to create ellaborate designs. They would dye the quills using natural elements such as berries and minerals.
In the seventeenth centrury, French adventurers drew attention to the beautiful lace like designs that Mi'kmaw women painted on leather. Such designs would continue to be used on Mi'kmaw garments, but since wool and linen had now replaced leather, designs once done by paint had to now be done with glass beads.
Second one is Likpniknn (Splint Basketry , Ash splint baskets are a signature item that the Mi'kmaq have become renowned for. Mikmaw craftsmen chose Black Ash as the favoured material for baskets. The Mi'kmaq made a wide range of baskets made from splints, for a variety of reasons. Baskets for work, whimisies and ornate basketry were all comommonly made by the Mi'kmaq rather it was for functionality, selling or trading.
Next is Kejikawey Kisitaqn (Contemporary Creations). From the early days of contact Europeans recognized that the Mi'kmaw were particularly skilled artisans with a fine eye for design. Over the following centuries the Mi'kmaw readily adopted new materials, techniques and styles, incorporating these elements into their own creations. Today, Mi'kmaq artists, artisans and craftspeople work in a variety of media. The legacy of creativity continues, incorporating new materials, diverse techniques and various state-of-the-art technologies. Contemporary works range from traditional splint basketry to poetry to digitalized photography, paintings, hand carved sculptures and many more forms of art.
More than workshop, GHC also invites everyone who want to know more about mikmaq prayer. Sweat lodge, is their old prayer ritual, where they thank and pray to the Creator for the good of them and their predecessors. In this ritual some people get into a lodge in which live coals are heating the lodge temperature. Heat temperature range between 80-110o C. Inside the lodge, they prayed together, a kind of meditation, closer to the creator.
This ritual is still preserved to this day and they are also open to anyone who wants to try. In the midst of a spiritual crisis in North America, it is like an anomaly that they had a great spirit in the search for spirituality. Even one of them said to a Muslim, "I want to see your prayers".
That is some amazing things about them, Mikmaq.
Good awareness of Canadian in learning history, also helping Mikmaq in promoting it. In 1998, 32.3% of Canadian already visited the museum (Hill Strategies Research Inc., 2003).
I enjoyed every single thing that I got there. There is one term that often be used in sweat lodge. The term teachs us about make good relationship with anyone, creating peace. The term believes that peace be upon everybody. The term is “All my relation”.