Shebahonaning: Rivers of Time

2021, Community of Shebahonaning
Anishinaabek, archaeology, community-led project, cultural heritage, Great Lakes, Indigenous history, material culture
About This Project

Date: July 4, 2021
Partner: Community of Shebahonaning
Project Members: Vicky Jamieson, Val Masters, Chantelle Perreault, Tiff Torma
Shebahonaning: Rivers of Time presents the archaeological history of Shebahonaning, from the ancestors of the Eastern Woodlands people who lived there 10,000 years ago to the Anishinaabek people who continue to live on this land today. Archaeological evidence affirms that the Anishinaabek people and their ancestors have inhabited Shebahonaning since time immemorial, revealing communities rich in traditions, art, and trade with ongoing cultural significance for local heritage. Using findings from archaeological excavations and surveys, visitors to this online exhibition will be able to immerse themselves in the history of Indigenous occupation in Shebahonaning (colonially known as Killarney), learning about the cultures and ways of life of the land’s inhabitants, past and present.
As a virtual exhibit on the community’s website, Shebahonaning: Rivers of Time follows four themed sections – Lands & Waters, Technology, Trade, and Traditions – to better understand the long history of life at Shebahonaning. Centering material culture found within the region, this exhibit shares knowledge on local sites of archaeological and historic importance and discusses what we can learn from the artefacts unearthed on this land. From these material findings, which confirm the longstanding Indigenous relationships tied to this land, it is clear that life at Shebahonaning predates the colonial settlement of nearby Killarney by thousands of years. The virtual exhibit is intended to be launched prior to July 2021. This exhibit seeks to present an alternative narrative to the presiding history of this region, one which centres on Anishinaabek history and traditions and affirms both past and present Indigenous occupation of this land.
Our team has completed archaeological, archival, and historic research in order to conceptualise an exhibit around archaeological excavations and surveys that took place at various sites in Shebahonaning throughout the 20th century. We created an exhibit plan, prepared interactive material, and drafted the exhibit text, all with the support of a community advisory committee to ensure that we facilitated an accurate and thoughtful portrayal of Shebahonaning’s history. We designed a website for the exhibit that is connected to the community’s existing website and migrated the exhibit text to this platform – one page for the introduction and one page for each theme, resulting in five web-pages total. When the text is approved by the advisory committee, usability testing will be organized with representative visitors, plans for marketing and advertising will be put into action, and the exhibit website will be made public.
We would like to thank our project supervisor Sarah Proulx for her ongoing dedication to this project and her support during the planning and execution of this virtual exhibition. Additionally, we would like to extend our gratitude to members of the community advisory committee who took the time to provide feedback throughout exhibition development, as well as the efforts of a local community artist who contributed their artistic talents for the ethical display of archaeological findings.