Nahgunegahbow (Standing Forward) (2020) mixed media on paper, 23 x 9.5 cm, unframed.
The Hudson’s Bay trade blankets carry with them a long narrative of colonization and trade history with the peoples of the Great Lakes, but also carry with them culture specific signs and semiotics as the blankets became assimilated into Anishinaabeg material culture. The trade blankets were at one time revered and were offered as highly valued gifts and were worn as regalia on important occasions and even fashioned into garments such as coats. When these blankets were decorated with a beaded blanket strip, for instance, they took on and even greater cultural and spiritual significance. An early photograph taken by Charles A. Zimmerman (circa 1872 and 1890) and sourced from the Smithsonian Institute of Nahgunegahbow or Mahjegahbo (Standing Forward or He Looks Well Standing Forward) wearing such a blanket and blanket strip is a fine example.