Frederick Arthur Verner - 1836-1928
|Great Canadian Heritage Treasure||An Ojibway camp, masterfully captured forever by Frederick Verner, somewhere in the Lake of the Woods region of far western northern Ontario, at a time when Canada's First Peoples were still living in a traditional way.
Frederick has given us a good view of a typical tipi used by the Woodland Indians for thousands of years - basically a simple tripod with extra poles, and draped with large pieces of birch bark. It was wide open at the top to let smoke out. A blanket door, held in place with another pole, also could be opened up to allow more light in. What is astonishing is the small size of the tipis.
We assume Frederick got the proportions accurately. His painting makes two powerful general statements that apply equally to almost all of Canada's First Nations at the end of the 19th century. First, in marked contrast to the lifestyle of Canadians today, Verner illustrates that the Ojibway were entirely "outdoor people" only retiring to the interior of their small bark tents for a crowded night's sleep.
|Ojibway Family Gathering, FA Verner 1878|
|Orig. wc - Size - 10" x 14"
Found - Toronto, ON
|Secondly, they were enormously social people, spending almost all their time in constant contact with other members of the tribe, quite different from today, when the modern nuclear family prefers to both, spend lots of time indoors, as well as being separate from other groupings, except on special occasions.|