Presentation on theme: "The people of the Mi'kmaq people have lived in what is now Nova Scotia and the Maritimes for hundreds of years. They have generally expressed their culture."— Presentation transcript:
The people of the Mi'kmaq people have lived in what is now Nova Scotia and the Maritimes for hundreds of years. They have generally expressed their culture and worldviews in stories and traditions. We are able to experience and understand aspects of Mi'kmaq traditions and culture through these stories and through the art they have created.
The Mi'kmaq people for hundreds of years have created enduring art. Some of this art has been carved into the rocks of the province. These rock pictures, or petroglyphs, record their lives and the things they saw around them.
Petroglyphs are sacred to the Mi'kmaq people. They are seen as traces from the past; the carvings have stories to tell new generations, which offers insights and inspiration. Petroglyphs are found along shores of soft, smooth slate and on places like the Bedford Barrens, an outcropping of rock along a ledge above the Bedford Basin.
Many petroglyphs can be found along the rocky shores of the lakes and rivers of Kejimkujik National Park, the Medway River and McGowan Lake, in southwest Nova Scotia.
Mi'kmaq Petroglyphs Kejimkujik National Park Maitland Bridge, Annapolis County
Petroglyphs have also been created at several other locations around the province. However, the smooth, fine-grained slates found in the Kejimkujik area are the best known, and have made an excellent surface for recording images. The lines were cut, scratched, or pecked using stone or metal tools.
The Mi'kmaq recorded images of people, animals, hunting, fishing, and the decorative motifs women sewed or painted on clothing. With the arrival of the Europeans, the lives of the Mi'kmaq changed in new ways. Evidence of this change includes images of sailing ships, men hunting with muskets, soldiers, Christian altars and churches, and small items like coins and jack-knives.
George Creed, the postmaster at South Rawdon in central Nova Scotia, made a series of tracings of the Mi'kmaq petroglyphs at Kejimkujik and McGowan Lake in 1887 and Creed's tracings form the earliest attempt to document the rock art in the province is an important record of this culture.
George Creed grouped his petroglyph tracings into broad categories depending on the subject: ships, people, canoes, animals, etc. In doing this he broke up groupings and made separate tracings of individual images. It is impossible to tell from Creed's tracings what the context was, or the relationships of the individual images to each other. Hand with Peaked Cap and European- style felted Beaver fur hat on palm Couple in ceremonial dress
Through the discovery of the the petroglyphs throughout the province, one thing is quite clear, that it is almost impossible to accurately date most of the petroglyphs. Images of sailing ships, hunters with guns and European-style dwellings are clearly more recent.
A few petroglyphs have the year of their creation carved into the rock next to them, either from the 1800s or the early 1900s.
Constantly exposed to weather, many petroglyphs have become worn over time. In numerous cases, vandals have defaced the images. In some cases, Creed's tracings are now the only record that the image ever existed.
Bedrock with Petroglyphs The soft bedrock here is being slowly washed away, thus the petroglyph images will some day be no longer visible. Vandals have scrawled graffiti on the rocks, but the original petroglyphs still remain. Rangers now patrol these areas to protect these fragile drawings.
It is very difficult to accurately record petroglyphs. The shallow cuts and lines that make up the image - in the quartzite and slate stone favoured by the artists - are often eroded by years of water, ice and weather wearing the edges down and making the images less distinct. Most recordings have been done with either tracing the petroglyphs onto paper or other materials, or by taking photographs. Often some technique was used to prepare the petroglyphs to make the lines more distinct before recording.
Tracings have the advantage that they are exactly the same size as the petroglyphs. Photographs of petroglyphs can be misleading if a scale is not included in the photo so that the size can be accurately shown. Casting, the third method, is the most accurate way to record rock carvings.
Originally, blue aniline pencil was used to trace the petroglyphs. Then, dampened paper was pressed over the tracing. The moisture in the paper transferred the pencil dye to the paper. This technique creates an image on the back of the paper that is a mirror image of the original, but are reversed when compared to the original carving.
Modern tracings are typically done on a transparent material such as mylar. The mylar sheet is placed over the petroglyph and the lines are traced with an ink pen, creating a correct image tracing of the petroglyph. Ruth Holmes Whitehead, Ethnologist at the Nova Scotia Museum, made this tracing of an early petroglyph in Bedford, NS, that was made with stone tools.
Mi'kmaq Petroglyphs - It is necessary to wet many of the drawings to even begin to see them. Here you see a drawing of a missionary along with the outline of a hand in the left area of the picture.
The Bedford Barren petroglyphs are very unique examples of Mi'kmaq carvings. They were discovered by Michael Ross in the hills above Bedford, N.S., in l983 as he walked along a flat ridge of quartz like rock. He took pictures and his mother brought them to the N.S. Museum to the attention of Ruth Whitehead. It was determined that they were of Mi’kmaq origin.
They were photographed, studied by Brian Molyneaux, a Research Associate in Archaeology at the Royal Ontario Museum. Molyneaux determined that the that the petroglyphs had been cut and drilled into the rock using stone tools. It appeared to date the petroglyphs back to a period before the arrival from Europe of metal tools (1500). Thus, the petroglyphs predate any other known petroglyph site in Atlantic Canada.
Bedford Petroglyphs, Halifax County
The Mi'kmaq people were not notified of their existence until 1989 by a local group of residents who wanted to save the Bedford Barrens from being destroyed by developers. To this date only a portion of the land has been preserved. Of the 90 acres of land that is to be/has been developed, only 4 acres have been set aside.
The Mi'kmaq people feel that this is not enough and that the whole area should be preserved and protected. The petroglyphs are found along a ledge above the Bedford Basin