By Invitation Only: Dance, Confederation and Reconciliation exhibit

Added 25th Jun 2021 by Amy Bowring

By Invitation Only: Dance, Confederation and Reconciliation exhibit photos
Curators: Amy Bowring, Troy Emery Twigg

Barry Ace
Bandolier for Wiikwemkoong (2017)
mixed media, 234 (h) x 38 (w) x 8 (d) (cm)
Loan courtesy of Barry Ace

Also known as friendship bags since they are traditionally gifted to strengthen friendship and family relations, Barry Ace’s bandolier bags are richly embellished with electronic components (capacitors, resistors, light emitting diodes) and glass seed beads, replicating Great Lakes’ floral motifs and designs. Embedded into this bandolier bag is a digital tablet displaying historical archival silent film footage of Anishinaabe dance performances and re-enactments taken on Manitoulin Island, Ontario in 1925.

Indian Pow Wow
Ontario Motion Picture Bureau / Bureau du cinéma de l’Ontario

silent film / film muet

14:30 min (looped) / 14 min 30 sec (en boucle)

Indian Pow Wow is a silent film from the collection of the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau and filmed in Wikwemkoong, Manitoulin Island (Ontario) in 1925. The film depicts visiting dignitaries or bureaucrats who are hosted by the entire Anishinaabe community. It documents welcoming speeches, dancing, singing and historical and cultural reenactments performed for the visiting delegation, community members and for the film company.

What is ironic about this film is that it was illegal for Indigenous people to dance in Canada in 1925. An amendment in 1914 to the Indian Act, the federal legislation pertaining to First Nations in Canada, outlawed dancing off-reserve and in 1925, dancing was outlawed entirely.

The film provides demonstrable evidence that dancing for the enjoyment and entertainment of visiting non-Indigenous bureaucrats was the exception.

Film sourced from the collection of Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa).

Barry Ace

Photos: DCD
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