At the heart of CCM’s Collaborative Relations strategy is a commitment to working closely with and supporting Indigenous communities. This is especially important as we develop the exhibitions for the new museum, and we are delighted to have MaryJane Proulx join us as the TD Indigenous Early-Career Exhibits Project Coordinator. MaryJane (MJ) is a nishinaabeg-scottish kwe who was raised in Nogojiwanong, Ontario, and has a passion for environmental stewardship and the history of the land.
MaryJane brings an extraordinary range of relevant skills and previous experience to this post. She has completed the Fleming College Museum Management & Curatorship program and holds a degree in History and Environmental Resource Studies and a diploma in Ecosystem Management Technology. She has also worked for Dalhousie University as a researcher, exploring Indigenous knowledge systems and partnerships in ocean stewardship.
Prior to this role, MJ volunteered, interned, and worked at the Museum in different capacities. She has worked as an Artisan Interpreter and Tour Guide at the Museum, teaching visitors about Indigenous-settler histories through the story of the canoe. “I began volunteering at the Museum while I was attending Trent University. Right away, I felt overwhelmed with the sense of community and care that staff and volunteers bring to the table every day. I have been fortunate to grow with the Museum over the past few years and am ecstatic to have this new role as Exhibits Project Coordinator”.
Exhibits Project Manager Dr. Laura Peers says, “MJ is a core part of the exhibits team. She has encouraged the team to focus on water issues as a theme across the exhibitions. She is creating key maps for exhibits with support from Native Land, an organization that maps traditional territories, languages, and treaties in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples. She is able to consider diverse visitor perspectives, as the team considers how to tell the many stories related to watercraft. She also brings a careful and respectful Indigenous perspective and an appreciation for the diversity of Indigenous cultures and histories to our planning sessions—in so many ways, she is shaping our thinking about the new exhibits.”
MJ supports exhibition development by managing the exhibits database, which brings together all information about the watercraft and other items to be displayed: accession number, provenance, cultural affiliation, and the crucial bit of information for the designers—the precise length, width and depth of every watercraft so that each one can be allocated precious space within the exhibition hall. She also researches specific topics related to the exhibits and participates in key interviews with Indigenous knowledge-holders.
“The Canoe Museum has a responsibility to ensure that the many different Indigenous voices and stories that are captured, are done so in a good way that is meaningful and reciprocal for all involved. Part of this responsibility involves creating space for Indigenous peoples to tell their stories with their own words and in their own way. I feel very honoured to be part of the team carrying this responsibility forward.”
CCM is very grateful to have MaryJane on the team and delighted to be part of her professional development journey. Thank you, TD Bank Group, for supporting MJ and CCM!
Funding for the CCM’s Indigenous Languages Program marks the largest investment made to date by TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment program in the Peterborough region.
For more information about the new museum or the CCM’s collaborative relations work with Indigenous communities, visit canoemuseum.ca/collaborative-relations.