I just spent the last weekend (April 26-28, 2013) attending the annual gathering and AGM held by the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society. This year it was a special event because the society is celebrating fifty years as an active non-profit organization in the province. Back in 1963 a group of people sent out a notice to Saskatchewan Archaeologists to meet on April 20 at the Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History, renamed the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) in 1993. They elected officers and started writing a newsletter and have been very active, holding an annual gathering/meeting ever since.
The annual gathering is always held in the spring (often in April) and is attended by people from all walks of life with interests in archaeology. Many of the professional archaeologists in the province and neighbouring provinces attend to present talks on work they’ve been doing. Students who are pursuing degrees at universities and colleges also give talks on their research as well as people carrying out avocational research in the western provinces. It is not restricted to just the western region of Canada, however, as people doing research in different parts of the world are welcome to present their findings. It really is a celebration of archaeology. There are books for sale, silent auctions, door prizes and great conversations as people get to meet up with old friends and people they have worked with on different projects over the decades. For more information see www.saskarchsoc.ca.
I presented a talk on some of the beadwork pieces that are in the ethnology collection at the RSM. Only items that have originated from Saskatchewan First Nations are kept by the RSM. A recent donation in 2011, the Nottingham Collection, consists of twenty-five pieces dating from 1904 onwards, possibly through to the early 1940s. They originate from the First Nation reserves near Markinch and Raymore, just to the north of Regina, so may be mostly Plains Cree beadwork.
Here we have a beaded saddle on the left. Many of the beaded saddles were decorated with wool yarn for the tassels, as this one has been. The item on the right is a beaded tie with a collar piece that was tied at the neck. Most items have geometric designs—most often associated with peoples from the plains regions.
Here are a few examples of items that Ann Alice Nottingham purchased from women who came around from the nearby reserves with their beadwork to sell. The two items on the left and the one on the bottom right are all small purses. The round item on the upper right is called a rondel.