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Unknown maker
Babiche Bag Babiche Bag
Unknown Unknown

When Robert Hamilton donated this bag to Queen’s University in 1873-1874, along with other K’asho Got’ine (Hare) items from the Mackenzie River delta, he was Inspecting Chief Factor with the Hudson’s Bay Company in a newly (and contentiously) confederated Manitoba. While it is not known who made the bag, its movement from one distant community to another is indicative of extensive cross-cultural Indigenous and settler networks of trade. In 1876-1877, Hamilton donated a further collection of Inuit objects from the Hudson’s Bay region.

From proud Scottish stock in nearby Peterborough, it is not surprising that Hamilton would have found the then-Presbyterian university in Kingston an attractive repository, though not an alumnus himself. In the year before making his first Queen’s donation, he had also met Sandford Fleming and George Monro Grant on a coast-to-coast survey for the eventual trans-Canada railway. Though Grant would not become Queen’s principal until five years later and Fleming its Chancellor in 1880, it is not difficult to imagine that a common interest in the university’s endeavours was struck among these influential men.

It is tempting also to speculate that Hamilton’s wife, Ann Seaborn Miles, a member of an established fur-trading family with complex Cree matrilineage (her grandmother was Nahoway), influenced her husband’s acquisition of Indigenous objects.

Images are not available to the general public. For Indigenous community members, please go to https://agnes.queensu.ca/explore/collections/image-reproduction/ for access.

 
Unknown maker
Sahtú Dene Sahtú Dene
Babiche Bag Babiche Bag
Unknown Unknown
Babiche (rawhide), hide, porcupine quill, wool fibre ?, dye Babiche (rawhide), hide, porcupine quill, wool fibre ?, dye
58.4 x 30.4 cm
Honourable Robert Hamilton of the Hudson's Bay Company Honourable Robert Hamilton of the Hudson's Bay Company
M78-085

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