Wendat Pottery Workshop

Wendat Pottery Workshop, participants standing in a circle watching demonstration of pottery making
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 4:22pm
Tara Fader

Faculty, undergraduate and graduate students from both the Mississauga and St. George campuses came together May 17, 2017 with Six Nations community members to watch and learn about Indigenous pottery making and storytelling.

“To see the UTM academic community and First Nations people come together for a day of celebrating and learning of traditional practices, led by a highly experience potter and his student, was a truly incredible experience,” said event organizer Steven Dorland, a PhD candidate in Anthropology at UTM.

This event was part of a special workshop co-hosted by the University of Toronto Archaeology Center, the UTM Department of Anthropology, and members of the UTM Indigenous Initiatives Task Force.

The workshop was led by Wendat artist Richard Zane Smith, who along with his assistant, Catherine Tammaro, demonstrated the use of traditional pottery techniques that have been practiced for more than 1,000 years.

Zane Smith discussed longstanding Wendat pottery traditions, including the importance of oral traditions in potting practices. As an example, the making of the vessel base and spreading the clay captures the earth being spread on the back of the snapping turtle to create Turtle Island.

As part of the event, a catered lunch was provided by Nishdish Catering, which specializes in authentic Ojibwa food. Nishdish also provided an educational presentation about the nature and origins of traditional Indigenous cuisine.

“It was a great afternoon, and it was so wonderful to see this event come together, and see it so well-received. Meeting Richard, and watching him perform his craft was a really valuable experience for me as an archaeologist,” said participant Lindi Masur, a PhD candidate in Anthropology at UTM.