Indigenous artifacts find a home in the Patrick Power Library

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The Patrick Power Library at Saint Mary’s University is now a host location of the Nova Scotia Museum, as part of a partnership meant to help Nova Scotia’s First People tell their story.

Several years in the making, this partnership came out of a request by Isaiah Bernard, Co-President of the Saint Mary’s Indigenous Student Association, for the Patrick Power Library to host a temporary display of artifacts during Mi’kmaq History Month 2017.

The Library agreed, citing the University’s Strategic Plan, which emphasizes the enhancement of Indigenous cultural education, and in recognition that Saint Mary’s University in is Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people.

With the help of Indigenous Student Advisor, Raymond Sewell, Isaiah obtained several artifacts from Stephen Powell, Nova Scotia Museum curator at the time and created a temporary display. Isaiah approached the Library about creating a more permanent display, and in December 2017, an agreement was made stating that Saint Mary’s University was approved to display artifacts from the Nova Scotia Museum’s collection.

 This unique collaboration between memory institutions provides the Patrick Power Library with the opportunity to help highlight Indigenous heritage, and provides the Nova Scotia Museum with the opportunity to display materials that may otherwise be in storage.

Stephen Powell has since retired and curator Katie Cottreau-Robins now oversees this project. In December of 2018, Dr. Malcolm Butler, Vice President, Academic and Research, agreed to the purchase of a display case to be situated in the Patrick Power Library for the display of Mi’kmaq artifacts.

A special event to celebrate the installation of the Mi’kmaq artifacts, on loan from the Nova Scotia Museum and housed in a brand-new display case in the Library, is set for March 14, 6:30-8pm.

The event will feature a panel discussion titled “Enhancing Indigenous Cultural Awareness through Creative Partnerships”, including Ray Sewell, Indigenous Student Advisor at Saint Mary’s; Isaiah Bernard, Co-President of the Saint Mary’s Indigenous Student Association; Saint Mary’s University Librarian, Suzanne van den Hoogen; Roger Lewis, Ethnology Curator at the Nova Scotia Museum; and Dr. Katie Cottreau-Robins, Curator of Archaeology at the Nova Scotia Museum. The panel will be moderated by Hansel Cook, Saint Mary’s University Archivist.

Submitted by Shawna Murphy.