Rus Articles Journal

Fairy tales of the Canadian wood. Part 1

Despite the conventional civilization, Canada - the country far, neiskhozhenny and even mysterious. No wonder therefore that walk on the Canadian museum of a civilization is followed by “deep immersion“ in local legends and myths, and also in the everyday truth both about ancient, and about modern to us people.

the First surprise testifying to a mnogosostavnost of the Canadian culture expected me at once on arrival. You judge: the capital of the country Ottawa is in the English-speaking State of Ontario. Respectively its shape is strongly Americanized, for designation of streets the word “street“ is used, and the personnel of hotels and shopping centers speak exclusively in English.

In the downtown, on the bank of the river of Ottawa, the hill topped with the well-known neogothic building of the Canadian parliament towers. And just opposite to it, on other coast, the Canadian museum of a civilization was placed. To it no distance - it is necessary to pass the ancient pig-iron bridge only. However, having made it, you get not just to other city of (Gatino), but also actually to other “country“ - the Province of Quebec. The transport arteries conducting to the museum are called “ryu“ now, at restaurants refined Parisian dishes prepare, and locals strive to start talking to you in French. Beauty and only...

the image of the museum which is seen already from the bridge Is pleasing to the eye also. The up-to-date building fancifully “spreads“ along the river, the zoomorfny forms reminding the sprawled large animal is lazy.“ Or not more likely - an Indian totem“, - I thought, having approached closer to make out a facade. Also it was near from truth.

Three “whales“

the Exhibition complex is built by

on that place where several centuries directly in more often virgin forest settled down the Indian sanctuary decorated with columns with carved images of deities. The parliamentary hill then still was empty, across Ottawa canoes slid, and nobody had never heard of white people.

there passed a lot of time Since then. Now the richest with exhibits, the most computerized, filled by all equipment and just most visited museum of Canada has already solid age and at the same time is very young. To it at the same time 150 and 15 years are how to look. The first collection devoted Canadian to history and culture was presented on a public inspection by local Geological society in 1856. To 1927 - mu it expanded to the National museum of Canada, after the person (Museum of man) renamed into the National museum. But twenty years ago the feminists gaining strength paid public attention to an offensive ambiguity of the name (it could be interpreted and as the certain “Museum of the man“). Then, to general satisfaction, there was neutral and at the same time more large-scale name:“ Museum of a civilization“. At last, in 1989 the meeting which expanded for one and a half centuries moved to specially designed “palace“ and by that found new life.

the best masters from around the world participated In a competition on construction of the new room, but Canadian Douglas Gordon won. He offered complex “mix“ from folklore motives and last “sand“ of post-modernist architecture. As a result the complex from two cases turned out not just functional, but also externally effective.

Both buildings are built by

of the yellowish limestone extracted in pits of the Province of Manitoba and separated from the coast by the picturesque cascade of green terraces. Curator, allocated under offices of employees and storage - store rooms, - it is more modest. The exposition is placed in the main thing, what is similar to a totemic mask and an exotic monster at the same time. However, according to the architect, this form is prompted by features of a local landscape and has to be associated with the wind fanning twisting coast of the northern rivers with spurs of mountains, fancy outlines of the thawing glaciers and other natural beauty... And also - to remind of vulnerability and fragility of the person in this huge wonderful world.

Not less majestic picture appears as

to the visitor`s eyes and when it gets inside. Here he is met also by huge corridors with transparent walls from where the wonderful view of the Parliamentary hill, and labyrinths of halls conducting literally “in depth“ stories, and ladders - the escalators which are carrying away in subdome spaces with lists on subjects of Indian mythology opens...

“The museum of a civilization“ - it sounds is proud. Having moved to the new building, the management cardinally changed the principle of construction and activity of the museum: it departed from uzkomestny specialization and began to carry out the international projects. Kompozitsionno to unite local and global, Council of curators went on the tested way: combined a constant exposition which still represents Canada, with large-scale guest exhibitions from the most different corners of the world. While three interior “whales“: halls of Indian culture, the native people and the Canadian history (it will be a question of them below) - occupy the most part of exhibition space and are always available, several galleries located on different floors of the building as if offer public figurative “information for comparison and reflection“. And the volume of this eternally renewed information is extraordinary wide: in different years the museum told the visitors evident stories about the Scandinavian Vikings and manuscripts of the Dead Sea, about culture of Siberia and Alaska, about Islamic art of Kuwait, about Ancient Egypt and Habsburg Austrian empire. Our visit coincided with demonstration of a beaded embroidery of the people of East and South Africa, the project devoted to the international design of 1960 came to the end not so long ago - x, and behind a wall the grandiose exposition “Petra was already hanged out: the forgotten stone city“, organized under patronage of the Jordanian queen. In 2007 there will arrive the treasures of Ancient Chinese art from the Beijing national museum almost never leaving borders of Celestial Empire here, and in plans for more long-term future - the interesting project together with our country - “Ancient steppes“. Two museums - on what we walk at present, and Samara the regional historian - local history will create the uniform exposition devoted to primitive life on steppe open spaces of the southern Russia and in the Canadian prairies. The purpose of an exhibition which is supposed to be shown on both sides of the ocean, - to compare the mechanism of adaptation of the person to a similar landscape in two areas. According to the employee of the Canadian museum Elena Ponomarenko, similar nobody in the museum world guessed anything yet.

generally, here in any day is what to look at and how to spend time. Let`s add everything listed also “built in“ difficult infrastructure by the Museum of mail and the Children`s museum, and also several cafes, restaurant, book and souvenir shops, library and movie theater with the stereoscreen. Everyone, irrespective of age and tendencies, will find in such multifunctional complex to itself(himself) occupation. By the way, also the special cunnings connected with a frigid climate are provided. If the family was solved on a cultural campaign in one of frosty revivals that can be more pleasant, than directly from the underground parking of the Museum of a civilization rise to the huge warm building, and there to disperse on interests for the whole day.

the Myth about god - a crow, the creator of all real
(the big hall of Indian culture)

the Hall is really big

. It represents an ellipse of 1 782 sq.m and 17 m high. One of its walls forms a continuous huge window overlooking the river and the same Parliamentary hill. It is equipped with special system of thermal control thanks to which on its internal surface temperature of 20 °C constantly keeps. The glass planes are divided by the columns which are suspiciously reminding oars. The look upward clears up idea of the architect: the ceiling is similar to the turned canoe bottom. In total in the hall - both exhibits, and people - it appears as if “in one boat“. It is possible to float safely towards to secrets of the Indian wood to which nice frankokanadets Richard undertook to acquaint us to. However, he admitted, directly outside, the next the district, there is no wood any more. However the taiga begins already in several kilometers to the North from Gatino, and once you go deep into it still kilometers on ten, and there is a real chance to meet the real bear, even now, in the 21st century! As if as proof of this fact the guide pointed by a broad gesture to the biggest photo in the world occupying all second longitudinal wall of the hall (that is opposite to the “canoe board“ window). Length of the picture representing the Canadian thicket respectively equals to hall length - more than one hundred meters. It, in turn, serves as a back for exhibits - several huts built in a row.

Each of them presents to

culture of one of the Indian nationalities living for several thousands of kilometers from Ottawa, along the Pacific coast of Canada (some of tribes, however, prosper and until now). In front of each house - totemic columns with a carving, inside - everything that can though somehow to confirm culture of this or that tribe: furniture, clothes, household items, jewelry, toys and just old engravings of Europeans with views of Indian settlements. And to strengthen “effect of presence“, all dwellings are equipped with video monitors and interactive screens by means of which the curious visitor can ask any question “on a subject“.

Each of such huts separately quite could apply for a role of the independent ethnographic museum, and in the Big hall their whole six: to bypass and in detail to consider everything, not one hour is required. On reading only of one names of tribes what is the time will leave: I will prompt, in confidence, that Nuu - Chah - Nulth in Russian is known as “nutka“, Kwakwala`wakw - “kvakiyutl“.

- it is so much

Behind these exotic names peculiar that it is possible to think, it is not about neighbors, and about the people separated from each other by many seas. Not to allow visitors to be lost in this variety, our guide tried to allocate the general, uniting moments. Let`s tell, worship of all Pacific Indians of god - to the Raven - the founder of the world and the creator of the person who was usually represented in the form of a bird with disproportionately huge beak (our many fellow citizens since the childhood remember her images in the popular encyclopedia “Myths of People of the World“). Sometimes his head reminded the Sun (according to a legend it brought Light to the world): the gold “solar“ mask of this deity, by the way, decorates one of face walls of the Indian hall, and its carved sculptures meet where you will dart a glance. Art dealers even sometimes call all exposition of this room “the village of the Raven“. By the way, all its design - the turned canoe - illustrates the myth, also general for the North American continent, about the fantastic boat of “bird`s“ god capable to expand to the sizes of the Universe and to decrease to the size of a pine needle. it is easy for p to assume

that the dissimilarity of the Pacific early cultures provoked the furious conflicts between them: the southern neighbors of “protocanadians“ - the comanche, to a si, Apaches were at war among themselves... But, according to Richard, life on the coast of the modern province British Columbia, from Vancouver to Prins - Rupert, proceeded idyllic peacefully:“ Imagine: your tribe lives at the Ocean. On the other hand - the Rocky Mountains separate you from the continent, providing rather soft climate. The coast as if “especially for you“ is cut up by narrow natural hollows - during outflow on shoal there is fish. And not some trifle - huge salmons. Men need only to get them on a spear and to drag to a fire. And if it wants to diversify somehow the menu, it is possible to make small coasting swimming on a canoe and to harpoon some production more essential - a seal for example. Neighbors have the same grace. Therefore there are neither contentions, nor wars. All are peaceful and have a great lot of free time for occupations, say, art or arrangement of the dwelling - for ages!“ Really, houses in “the village of the Raven“ are made of a red Canadian cedar, at the same time strong and pliable (before arrival of white men Indians did not know iron and processed wood stone tools). All of them stand on one line - “embankment“ - and are turned by “person“ to the imagined ocean. In the center the painted house of the Leader noted by a graceful totemic column before an entrance flaunts. Grace.

Such Europeans when in the 19th century, having passed the wide prairie, they passed the Rocky Mountains found these settlements. Fortunately, by then natives of the Old World already more or less learned to get on with Indians therefore the Pacific culture suffered much less and to its carriers “got“ not so much to cruelty as, say, to Indians of the Great Lakes.

the huts Exposed here were built by

to opening of a new Complex by handicraftsmen - natives and represent truly “facsimile copies“ of the remained constructions of the XVIII-XIX centuries. The technology of ancestors was observed scrupulously. And here “movable“ objects, from ware to cult objects, represent the originals collected by various expeditions. Their age varies from 100 to 2000 years: and stone sculptures of a deity reckon with the pronounced “man`s advantage“ urged to represent natural abundance, and also some of the remembered already “multystoried“ totemic columns as the most ancient.


In their museum it is shown forty three is a largest collection in the world. Some are so great that rise almost to a ceiling of the hall and contain more than ten graphic tiers. The totem is higher, the social standing of the person in front of whose house it was established and if it was talked of the governor, then the door which is cut down in the lower part of a column masked under a beak of the same Raven is more solid. Through it entered into the house especially guests of honor: you remember how it happens to Johnny Depp`s hero in the well-known movie of Jim Jarmusch “Dead person“? The Indian house where it gets at the end of a picture, is as like as two peas similar on exhibited here. By the way, the ceremonial opening of the museum in 1989 coincided on a visit to Canada of Elizabeth II, and it as to the honourable guest was granted the right to enter the house of the Leader through a beak. However, Richard adds, the queen for some reason refused.

than totems tell to

Totemichesky art makes quintessence of the Pacific Indian culture. Besides that it testifies to the highest level of woodcarving, each column - a totem separately tells the myth connected with history of the tribe and the leader`s family. To destination these objects are subdivided on “kommemorativny“ (put in honor of an event or the hero), “entrance“ (serving as a door to the house), “funeral“ (on which the ballot box with the owner`s ashes) and “festive“ (in honor of special events, for example the Potlatch - a holiday “obedience to the leader and distributions of gifts by it“ is established). The grizzly, a raven, a whale, a salmon, a snake, a wolf and the shaman - the dancer in a characteristic hat most often occur among the symbols decorating columns. Once the arrangement of these figures on a vertical (lower level meant submission by higher) was read by Indians as a fascinating story about love and insidiousness, a victory and treachery. We can only enjoy their esthetic power and an expression today.

of the Fairy tale of the grandmother - the curator
(the hall of the first people, or native people of Canada)

Today in Canada, the state of the planet, the second for the size, after Russia, about 33 million people live. From them four percent, that is a little more than one million, natives make. The figure is seemingly small, but in public life the role of “the first people“ of the country is considerable. Partly is their own merit. Partly - “echo“ of development of Canada white which, despite comparative “softness“, nevertheless did not do without oppressions (present careful attitude to natives, providing the social help to them and remission of taxes are some kind of compensation for last sins).

Under “the first people“ to subtimenot only Indians mevatsya, but also residents of polar lands are Inuits (this self-name is considered more politically correct now, than the word “Eskimos“ in which value - “devourers of crude meat“ - the scornful shade is caught). In the Museum of a civilization the separate “compartment“ telling not only about primordial customs of ancestors, but also about modern life of descendants is devoted to them.

Stephen Augustin, the curator and one of creators of the second of the main halls of an exposition who kindly accepted relay at talkative Richard himself comes from a family of leaders of the tribe mikmak, very influential is once in the Canadian East. But his father, being the officer of the country entering the British Commonwealth served in the sixties in Germany. Little Stephen early appeared far from native roots. A black mane of the hair tied in a tail, fingers covered with excentric rings - today and all exotic in its shape. However, it has a reputation for one of the best experts on mythology of the people, as well as other autochthonic nationalities of Canada. At the beginning of a museum “kingdom of the first people“, in a small cinema hall, it is possible to see the movie created by it. The structure is simple: on the screen - the author in an original national suit tells the ill-matched listeners who gathered at a fire mikmaksky fairy tales. They to it, in turn, were told by the grandmother, the real Indian who lived till hundred years and died in 1998. On the biennial of the modern art this tape quite could descend for a conceptual art - the project: present, extremely dressed character in puffs sits and talks, say, about the magic force of number “sem“ (“God created the world in seven days, God gave to the person seven openings on the head“ and so forth). And here - pure historical reconstruction...


It is similar Big, the Hall of the first people is sated with the interactive devices making a subject more available for the audience. It and Canada maps on which ethnolinguistic communities with their areas are highlighted (today in the country there are 53 native languages relating to eleven groups), and “audiopoints“ where the visitor can sit down and listen to some Indian legend in translation into French or English. Nearby on a TV screen there are colourful reportings on how descendants of free masters of prairies gather in the 21st century on those places where their great-grandfathers organized the fairs on the occasion of sale of buffalo s known “to a pa - wow“, - and will organize festivities with beer and tomfooleries. The serious respectable people, managers and programmers, bankers and government employees who are seldom appearing in public without tie suddenly change in shamans, knock on tambourines and dance as if in a trance.

But personally on me the strongest impression was made not “by managers there are shamans“, and the Inuit section where the plagues from edges of whales covered with morzhovy skins are presented. Their inhabitants lived in conditions of eternal cold: 10 months in a year temperature did not rise above zero. In the “whale houses“ warmed by fires they stripped to the skin that the body did not sweat before an exit outside. Only directly before “walks“ put on two-layer clothes from the same morzhovy skins - the first layer as “the second skin“, fitted a naked body tightly, serving as a thermomembrane, top - fur outside - protected from a frost. In it, almost “neoprene“, a suit the hunter could remain long on “seven winds“. Especially attracted to me the sun - and the wind-shelter “points“ of Eskimos which are cut out from a bone or a tree with very narrow cuts for eyes. Any producer of fashionable optics could envy their design.

the Cosmogony on CD
If interests you native mythology, then in the Hall of the first people, having put on earphones, you will listen in a row to several versions of creation of the world and the person. What to you is more to taste? Main “offers“ two:“ Mother - a she-bear“. The girl, picking berries, got lost in the wood and dared to tell in a fit of temper something sharp to the address of his owner - a bear. The prince passing by - a grizzly seized her and dragged off to himself to the palace - a den. Then, having fallen in love, he made to the young lady a proposal of marriage, and through the put term at them was born two sons. However soon the relatives of the bear spouse who were looking for her everywhere artfully killed her husband, and she had to return to the settlement with the unusual children. They gave rise to the new tribe differing in force and endurance - the tribe of the real people. The fairy tale the fairy tale, but modern Indians still especially honor a bear, recognizing behind him nearly human intellectual qualities.“ Heavenly woman“. When on Earth was not yet go on, and there was a continuous ocean, in heaven there was a kingdom where there lived heavenly people. Once in the hole which is incidentally formed between clouds the pregnant woman fell. It flew down so long (probably as Alice in Wonderland) that birds managed to unite and help it to land not in water, and on a back of a huge turtle. Marine animals brought it sea silt, having formed tverd, and from the twins born by it the human race went.

generally, “us not really there is a lot of, but we very different“ - this motto say from the big monitor in the hall the aboriginals of Canada holding today various high positions.