There is no word for contact in Anishnaabemowin. It implies something too distant. We use this word to mark the meeting between European explorers and the first inhabitants of North America. But as a language that gives voice to actions and intimacy, the closest word in Anishnaabemowin is touch.
To commemorate the 400 year anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s travels through Huronia, the Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH) will present an exhibition that explores the effect of touch on our area. Beginning in June, National Aboriginal History Month, this display will feature artefacts, images and interactive elements. It will rely on Indigenous research practices to collect, organize, interpret and present information about the cultural context of Champlain and his enduring influence. Aimed at expanding the institutional discourses that make “History,” touch is rather unique for researching and presenting historical material through the signs, symbols and practices of North America’s First People.
touch is a collaborative project produced by the Chippewas of Rama First Nation Culture and Research Department (CARD) in coordination with Dr. Darrel Manitowabi, Professor, Anthropology Program in the School of Northern Development at Laurentian University, Douglas Hunter, Writer, PhD candidate, York University and Matt Macintosh.