New Brunswick

'People of the Dawn:' First Nations exhibit shows The Wabanaki Way

A new exhibit of historic First Nation artefacts goes on display in June at the Fredericton Regional Museum, and we take a sneak peak.

Display at Fredericton Regional Museum highlights local artefacts

A close look at the intricate bead work in a moccasin, part of a new First Nations exhibition of historic artefacts opening in June at the Fredericton Regional Museum. (CBC)

The Fredericton Regional Museum is putting the finishing touches on a new First Nations exhibit.

It's called The Wabanaki Way and opens to the public on June 9. But the museum offered a sneak peak Tuesday, led by Ramona Nicholas from Tobique First Nation.

"The Wabanaki means the People of the Dawn, and this is what we call each other as a larger group that include the Mi'kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot," said Nicholas.

"It's a large territory but in this exhibit we're just focusing on here in New Brunswick."

These moccasins were made out of moose hide.

Nicholas said Wabanaki bead works have a lot of floral designs in them that are inspired by nature.

This 19th century kindling box shows hunting scenes, with images of teepees on the side, and corn growing on the bottom. 

The birch bark picnic basket was created during a transition period between the ancient times and when the Wabanaki people started trading with outsiders, said Nicholas. 

"So when we're moving into the contact period, we're seeing that a lot of Wabanaki people were making stuff to sell," she said. "A lot of pieces were the birch bark edged baskets."

The opening of The Wabanaki Way exhibit will be in the afternoon of June 9, a celebratory day, said Nicholas.

In the evening, it will be followed by a full moon ceremony to honour the ancestors, she said.

With files and video from Joe McDonald