Teachers Lesson Plans

Aboriginal Voices in Canadian Contemporary Art

-2000

  • First migration of the Palaeo-Eskimo cultures (Arctic Small Toll Tradition and Dorset) into the Canadian Arctic.



1-1600

  • Second migration of the Neo-Eskimo culture (Thule) east from Alaska into Canada and Greenland. They are the ancestors of present day Inuit.

Inuit group in Umiak, in the spring, 1920-1929
Robert J. Flaherty
1920-1929, 20th century
Photogravure on paper
50.3 x 33.6 cm
From M. Serge Vaisman
MP-0000.596.3
© McCord Museum



Image: Inuit group in Umiak, in the spring, 1920-1929
Robert J. Flaherty
1920-1929, 20th century
Photogravure on paper
50.3 x 33.6 cm
From M. Serge Vaisman
MP-0000.596.3
© McCord Museum

1000-1400

  • Norse “Vikings” establish colonies in Greenland and eastern Canada.



1530-1740

  • Whalers, and later traders, settlers and missionaries, on the Labrador coast. Among other utilitarian objects, Inuit create small-scale ivory carvings for trade. The ivory miniatures and other hand made objects dating from early contact to 1949 are considered to be of the "historic period".



Mr. Naigle trading with an Inuit man, Fort McPherson, NT, 1901
C. W. Mathers
1901, 19th century or 20th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Gelatin silver process
24 x 19 cm
Gift of Mrs. J. B. Learmont
MP-0000.59.2
© McCord Museum

1576

  • William Frobisher is the first European explorer to go into the Arctic.



1670

  • The Hudson’s Bay Company is granted a charter over Rupert’s Land.
  • Rupert’s Land includes all the lands with waterways draining into Hudson Bay.



1750

  • The Hudson's Bay Company establishes trading posts on the southeast of Hudson Bay.



Inuit who helped with construction of HBC post, Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, NT, 1921
Captain George E. Mack
1921, 20th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Gelatin silver process
7 x 13 cm
Gift of Mrs. R. Mack
MP-0000.597.329
© McCord Museum

1870

  • The Hudson’s Bay Company surrenders Rupert’s Land to the Government of Canada.



1890-1910

  • Decline of whaling



1905-1912

  • Transition from whaling to fur trading as the primary source of outside contact for the Inuit



Inuit woman wearing fox furs and hat
Richard Harrington / National Archives of Canada / PA-112091

1920-1930

  • Era of high economic return from fur trading and entry of early government officials in the North, primarily police.



Inuit group, Hudson's Bay Company Post, Baker Lake, NU, 1917(?)
Captain George E. Mack
Probably 1917, 20th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Gelatin silver process
8 x 13 cm
Gift of Mrs. R. Mack
MP-0000.597.462
© McCord Museum

1930

  • First Canadian exhibition of Inuit art and artefacts is organized by the Canadian Handicraft Guild (now the Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec) and held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts).
  • 1930s: Decline of the fur-trading economy.



1937

  • Agnes Nanogak Goose and her family settle in Holman. She is 12 years old. Most Inuit left the semi-nomadic life in the late 1950s or early 1960s.



Building igloos, Little Whale River, QC, 1873
James Laurence Cotter
1873, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Albumen process
10 x 15 cm
Gift of Mrs. D. A. Murray
MP-0000.391.9
© McCord Museum

1940

  • Building of air bases in the Canadian Arctic for resupplying European war planes.



1948

  • James Houston, a young Canadian artist, travels to Arctic Quebec (Nunavik) to paint. He returns with sculptures from Inukjuak and shows them to members of the Canadian Handicrafts Guild in Montreal (which became the Canadian Guild of Crafts, Quebec, in 1971). Houston makes other trips to the North on behalf of the Guild, which collects and exhibits the works he brings back from his trips.



1949

  • On November 21, the Canadian Handicrafts Guild in Montreal opens an exhibition of “Eskimo crafts” which included for the first time stone sculpture collected by Houston. In a way, it marks the beginning of a new art form. The term “Contemporary Inuit art” was adopted to differentiate sculptures made by Inuit after 1949 from that made previously during the prehistoric and historic periods.



1950

  • Government establishes villages equipped with school and nursing stations around existing trading posts and missions. This coincided with widespread hunger due to changing to migration patterns of land and sea animals and disease brought from outside in many parts of the Arctic.
  • Beginning of the rapid development of stone sculpture, creation of Inuit marketing and distribution cooperatives. A flourishing economy emerges along with an innovative art form.



Cape Dorset
Stevenson, A. / National Archives of Canada / PA-175973

1955

  • The federal government appoints James Houston administrator of the southwest section of Baffin Island.
  • James and Alma Houston move to Cape Dorset and actively encourage the region’s sculptors and artisans.
  • Jessie Oonark settles with her family in Baker Lake.



1957

  • The first trial prints (stone cuts and stencils) are produced in Cape Dorset with James Houston’s supervision.



1958

  • James Houston spends four months in Japan to study wood cut printmaking. The technique is shortly after adapted to stone cut printmaking.



1960

  • The 1959 collection of Cape Dorset prints is exhibited at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts then sent to art dealers for sale. The National Gallery of Canada purchases several for its permanent collection. The success of this project makes it a model for similar initiatives in communities such as Puvirnituq in 1962, Holman in 1965, Baker Lake in 1970, and Pangnirtung in 1973.



Cape Dorset
National Archives of Canada / PA-175785

1961-1962

  • Kenojuak is featured in a National Film Board of Canada documentary on Cape Dorset prints.



Kenojuak
Korda, B. / National Archives of Canada / PA-145170

1964

  • The Winnipeg Art Gallery initiates what will become an active Inuit Art exhibition program.



1967

  • Felt-tip pens are introduced in Cape Dorset. There use was discontinued in the mid-1970 because they are light sensitive and fade quickly when exposed to daylight.



1975

  • Signing of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Land Claim Agreement. The region would be called later Nunavik which means "Great Land" in Inuktitut.
  • Jessie Oonark is elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.



Image: Making a kayak, Little Whale River, QC, 1874
James Laurence Cotter
1874, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Albumen process
10 x 16 cm
Gift of Mrs. D. A. Murray
MP-0000.391.12
© McCord Museum

1982

  • Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak receives the Order of Canada.

    In recognition of her contribution to Inuit culture, Kenojuak is made a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement.



1984

  • The Inuvialuit in western Canadian Arctic negotiated a settlement involving land, royalties, and self-government in their communities.



Image: Koodlu Pitseolak & Makikiuq, Blacklead Island, NU, 1922-23
Captain George E. Mack
1922-1923, 20th century
Silver salts on paper (matt finish) mounted on paper - Gelatin silver process
7 x 10 cm
Gift of Mrs. R. Mack
MP-0000.598.43
© McCord Museum

1985

  • Agnes Nanogak Goose receives an honorary degree from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.



1990

  • Pudlo Pudlat is the first Inuit artist to have a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada — Pudlo: Thirty Years of Drawing.



1993

  • Signing of the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement (Eastern and Central Arctic), which contains specific references to the creation of a Nunavut Territory in 1999.



Image: Youthful hunter, 1920-1929
Robert J. Flaherty
1920-1929, 20th century
Photogravure on paper
50.8 x 33.1 cm
From M. Serge Vaisman
MP-0000.596.2
© McCord Museum

1999

  • The Nunavut Territory and government come into existence.

    On April 1, 1999, Nunavut becomes Canada’s newest territory. Covering about 1.9 million square kilometres of land and water, and spanning three time zones, Nunavut is home to about 22,000 people. The name means “our land” in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit, who make up 85% of the population of Nunavut. (Natural Resources Canada) (Nunavut)

Chronology: adapted and augmented from Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, The Inuit of Canada, 1995