Joined: 20 Jun 2009
Real Name: Gerry Neilands
|Posted: Sun May 30, 2010 3:01 pm Post subject:
|Good questions, I've often wondered the same things,, the relationship that the 1st nations have/had both spiritually animistic and enviromnetly with the animals around them goes without saying.
Many ( not all of course) of the trade silver smiths were based out of Quebec(New France/Lower Canada) and I'm sure they made what ever the trade companys asked them to make. No doubt the traders saw or learned what the 1st nations liked or valued and this probably helped in deciding what to design.
Many areas such as Mackinac had a strong French influence, the French being there before the British. Nicolet was there in 1634 and many say fellows like Eteine Brule visited the area earlier then that.
It is perhaps then that as they intermarried with the local 1st nations some items like the french cross of Lorraine stayed popular because of the importance it held to them ( french metis)as opposed to some other areas and regions whose european and or 1st nations religeous/political/symbolic beliefs were different. Not to mention the different missionarys out saving souls Catholics, Protestant, etc.
There are examples of regional differences of the same basic design as well. A somewhat traditional French cross of Lorraine may have more fleur de lis stlye bar ends and heart piercings where as a six nations cross of Lorraine may have the same overall shape but can differ in the bar ends and style of piercings,,All just theroy on my part tho.
This is what I've been told about a few of them, don't know how correct it is cause I'm sure no expert.
The turtle for many represents turtle island,( figures in some creation stories) Mother earth, the world or the North American continent. As Mother earth it represents females, the shell sections on trade silver turtles often numbering 13 to represent the 13 moon cycles that women have .
The beaver was what the Europeans were after and what better reminder to trap and bring in beaver then a beaver effigy hanging around ones neck.
The Otter and or kissing otters? Again, not sure, I'm wondering if the kissing(double) otters aren't based of some of the doubled heart Scotish Luckenbooth brooches.
The weeping heart and doubled weeping heart brooches I was told was often given as a gift when ones loved one was heading off leaving their sweetheart/spouse behind, the joined hearts signifying that their hearts/love are joined forever even tho they may be miles apart and of course they are weeping because they are sad to see their loved one leave never knowing if they'll see them agian.
Again, folklore or stories made up as an answer to suit a question? I can't say. I'm sure there's many here that know alot on the subject.