A Canadian Family

Natives, French Canadians & Acadians

Chief Poking Fire Indian Museum | Caughnawaga Indian Reserve

This is an historic image of the well-known local landmark the “Chief Poking Fire Indian Museum”.

One of my clearest memories from the mid 1950s was crossing over the Mercier Bridge from Ville Lasalle to reach the “Indian Museum” in Caughnawaga. As a 7 year old, I was most fascinated by the little beaded handicrafts. I believe they were pincusions and the beading was set against a velvet (I think!) background in rich colours like purple and fuscia.

Chief Poking Fire

It’s located in the Mohawk community which is now known as Kahnawake.

“Cultural identities are commodities too. As Trudy Nicks points out, it is not so easy to dismiss the performance of Chief Poking Fire and his tomahawk chopping sons as bereft of cultural meanings. “Poking Fire’s village provided tourists with a restricted view of the lives of citizens of Kahnawake,but not one without local cultural and historical relevance. If the choice of representations accommodated twentieth-century tourist’s expectations, it was also an authentic expression based on a long history of negotiating cultural encounters with Europeans.” The struggle between Kahnawake residents over the images displayed at Indians Days illustrates the varied and complex ways Kahnawake residents understood themselves as twentieth century Indians. Over the years, they had learned to manipulate ‘Indian’ imagery ”

Teepees and Tomahawks

Related Posts

Index: First Peoples Genealogy and History

Index: Chief Poking Fire Museum & Indian Village, Kahnawake, Quebec


September 30, 2009 - Posted by | . | ,


  1. What an interesting postcard! Such a shame it’s not in color to show the fine bead work and colorful feathers on the headdresses.


    Comment by Joanna (JamaGenie) | October 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. I love all the postcards of “Indian Trading Posts.” There are many colorful ones from the U.S.


    Comment by postcardy | October 1, 2009 | Reply

    • I didn’t even know this was a type of postcard. Trust you to know this!


      Comment by evelynyvonnetheriault | October 1, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thank you for the story and the great card!!!


    Comment by peggy gatto | October 1, 2009 | Reply

  4. Hmm, interesting comments that you quoted. Hadn’t thought about it like that.


    Comment by Viridian | October 1, 2009 | Reply

  5. Thanks for sharing, nice story.

    My Bangkok Through My Eyes!
    You got a Posty: I want to give 15 postcards 🙂


    Comment by BeachILike | October 1, 2009 | Reply

  6. I love how blogging brings people together!

    With my move, I haven’t had time to “settle in” and really work on genealogy as much as I would like… But I’m getting there. 🙂


    Comment by Wendy Hawksley | October 1, 2009 | Reply

  7. Thank you for a great post! Native Americans have such a rich history. What we know of it depends almost soley on what the white people of the Americas chose to write about.


    Comment by Muse Swings | October 1, 2009 | Reply

  8. Oh wow…..that is a great postcard! I love it!
    Thank you for sharing it and for the interesting background as well.

    Have a beautiful weekend


    Comment by Robin | October 2, 2009 | Reply

  9. Thanks for sharing this, Evelyn. I love this card and your description…especially about crossing the bridge to visit the museum.


    Comment by Christine | October 2, 2009 | Reply

  10. I believe they wore in colourful and bright accessories, like what I had seen in screen.


    Comment by Lay Hoon | October 2, 2009 | Reply

    • Yes, the clothing was very colourful. I have several colour postcards and recent photographs that you can find by clicking on the Kahnawake link in the right sidebar.


      Comment by evelynyvonnetheriault | October 2, 2009 | Reply

  11. Wonderful postcard–and such an interesting perspective. Thank you for sharing and happy PFF!


    Comment by Beth | October 3, 2009 | Reply

  12. Interesting commentary on the way we think of traditional Indian culture.


    Comment by Stephanie | October 3, 2009 | Reply

  13. Hey this is my family. how did you get this. its awesome. we still have a whole bunch of them.


    Comment by Myles McComber | May 3, 2010 | Reply

  14. I am a vintage postcard collector and since I live in Chateauguay and have helped various individuals with their Kahnawake lineage, I have collected a few images of Kahnawake.
    Thank you for your comments,


    Comment by evelynyvonnetheriault | May 3, 2010 | Reply

    • i i’am jp simon from France i visited kahnawake with my wife and my 2 kids in 1978 i think, .it’s a marvellous souvenir we met chief poking fire an adorable grandfather and i can say he was so nice with my children and so prevenant
      long live to the mohawks
      and sorry for my bloody english


      Comment by simon | December 25, 2014 | Reply

  15. as i look at this photo it brings back memories to me as i lived in kahnawake( used to say caugnawaga then) my mom remaried with frank kardis he worked at dominion bridge , so we moved there we lived on creek road our landlord was moses taylor he had a sister emma she had a son peter he died in 1950 he was laid out at home on cemetary road landlords where angus deer and mabel his funeral was at the kateri kawita church funeral arrangements were done by mr goodleaf we had friends annie & norma mc cumber , louis delisle and tommy laforce and many more i was there for a visit on sat the 21 and ill go back to try to remember place i knew i was anita kardis and my brother danny my mom agnes and step dad frank (big frank as his friends called him) i love living in your hometown

    See also – http://acanadianfamily.com/2012/09/02/caughnawaga-memories-lachine-industrial-history-dominion-bridge/


    Comment by anita ferroni | July 22, 2012 | Reply

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