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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Monday, December 5, 2022
Exploring Photos: Six Nations doll circa 1820
This c.1820s Six Nations doll was donated in 1909 and is reputed to have belonged to a Chief’s daughter on the Grand River. NOTL Museum

This c.1820s Six Nations doll was donated in 1909 and is reputed to have belonged to a Chief’s daughter on the Grand River. It is made of painted carved wood and is dressed in clothes decorated with beads. You can imagine that during a time when toys were handmade and less accessible as they are today, that this doll would have been cherished for many years. Children have an innocence and love for special items they can call their own.

A young girl at the age of 6, named Phyllis Webstad, had that same adoration for her new orange shirt that her grandmother bought for her first day at the local residential school. When she arrived, this cherished orange shirt was stripped from her and never returned. Phyllis was devastated and rather than a feeling of excitement and wonderment to learn, she experienced feelings of insignificance, neglect and worthlessness. September 30th was declared ‘Orange Shirt Day’ in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to indigenous children.  Make sure to wear your shirt on that day. Or, purchase your Orange Shirt Day buttons at the NOTL Museum. Proceeds go to the Niagara Regional Native Centre here in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

*correction to last week’s image: the sailing club is located to the right of the picture, not the left!