Living Words: Aboriginal Diplomats of the 18th Century

From May 4 to September 9, 2001

This exhibition has ended.

On this 300th anniversary of the Great Peace of Montreal the McCord presents an exhibition that pays homage to Aboriginal diplomats who distinguished themselves throughout the 18th century. These notable figures were gifted orators who spoke for their communities during negotiations with Europeans.

Drawing on the McCord's archival documents and exceptional collection of Aboriginal objects, the exhibition invites visitors to discover the subtleties and eloquence of Native diplomacy, and to participate in living traditions of intercultural peace.

The exhibition also features four spectacular oil paintings created in 1710 by Dutch artist John Verelst, on loan from the National Archives of Canada. These portraits depict Aboriginal spokesmen - "The Four Indian Kings," as they have come to be known - who visited the court of Queen Anne in London.

As a complement to the exhibition, and in collaboration with l'École montréalaise, a provincial education program, the McCord recently offered workshops on Native iconography and culture to 22 classes of elementary students from around the Island of Montreal. The sculptures created by the students in response to their initiation to Native culture were then assembled to form The Tree of Peace, a monolithic mixed-media installation featured prominently in the exhibition.

The CBC was the official media presenter of the exhibition. We wish to thank the National Archives of Canada for lending the portraits of the "Four Indian Kings" from their National Portrait Collection, and for contributing financially towards their conservation.