January 22-July 17, 2011
Following the British capture of Louisbourg in 1758, Québec in 1759, and Montréal in 1760, the Mi’kmaq recognized the need for a new trade relationship with the British. With this, Lord Halifax and the Board of Trade finally realized their aim of having the new colony in Nova Scotia achieve and maintain a harmonious relationship with the region’s original inhabitants.
No artist recorded the scene 250 years ago—on June 25, 1761—when Jonathan Belcher and his council met with Mi’kmaq chiefs at the Governor’s Garden to sign a treaty of peace and friendship and solemnly buried a “Hatchet as a Dead Body” at the end of the ceremonials. The ritual "concluded with Dancing and Singing."
Artists’ depictions of the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia during the centuries that followed the signing of this treaty make up this exhibition.
Photo: Unknown (possibly John Cunningham), Mi'kmaq Chief and European Visitor, c.1790, watercolour on paper, 23.0 x 34.5 cm, gift of Christopher Ondaatje, Toronto, Ontario