Heritage activity in the 21st century is a sophisticated endeavor, often accompanied with technical words and terms with very specific meanings. The following definitions and brief explanations will help anyone interested in this work, especially as it relates to the subjects of history, research and heritage.

Anvil: A block of stone used to shape other materials through striking

Archeology: The study of ancient cultures, especially by the excavation and analysis of physical remains

Archeologist: A person who studies archaeology

Artifacts: objects made by human hands – tools, vessels, pipes

Assiniboine: Tribal name for a group of First Nations people

Atlatl: A wooden spear

BC: Before Christ or The Year of Lord (dating before or after the birth of Jesus Christ)

Barter: To trade by exchange of goods

Biface: A two-side stone tool used as a multipurpose knife

British North American Act (BNA): The BNA Act is the base document for the Canadian Constitution

CE: Common era (archaeological dating of artifacts)

Chief Peguis: Chief of the Saulteaux people of Red River Settlement

Cord-impressed Pottery: Impressing or roughing the surface of a pot/vessel while the clay is still wet as a way to decorate it

CPR: Canadian Pacific Railway

Cree: Tribal name for a group of First Nations people

Commemoration: Commemoration involves the selection of a historic subject (person, place, theme, event, etc.) via a rigorous assessment process and then the consideration of appropriate methods and venues to honour and promote that subject. Typical methods for such work include plaques, statues and murals. When the commemorative approach is a plaque it is essential that wording be concise and exact, that key issues be carefully weighed and addressed, and that texts be appropriate and clear.

Confederation: A union of alliance of provinces or states

Designation: The legal recognition that a site is significant to the community and that its owner has agreed to protect it and preserve its heritage character, and usually the last step in a process that has ensured that a site has major heritage value, that the community recognizes this value, and that the building or site has been deemed sustainable through an examination of financial and technical issues

Dovetail Join: A joint in cabinetry and square log construction consisting of interlocking “V”-shaped cuts

First Nations: People native or belonging naturally to a place

Fort Garry: A Hudson’s Bay Company fur trade post built at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine River in the early 1800s

Half-breed: People of First Nations and European heritage, primarily of English or Scottish fathers and Cree mothers

Hammerstone: A rounded cobble, sometimes with a grove to help hold it

Heritage: The study, analysis and presentation (usually via a book or article) of a subject, theme, event, person, or site in all its aspects—the good and the bad

Histography: The writing of history, the study of the development of historical method, historical research, and writing, and any body of historical literature

Hudson’s Bay Company: English based fur-trade company that built fur-trade posts on the coasts of James and Hudson Bay. Its early headquarters was at York Factory on Hudson Bay. It hired only men, primarily of Scottish and English heritage who married Cree woman from North America.  It is the oldest commercial corporation in North America.

Immigrant: People who move from one country to another country

Interpretation: The careful and creative expression of a chosen historical subject so that members of a community or visitors to a community can completely comprehend and appreciate its significance. Interpretation involves the consideration of audience/reader needs (for facts, information and enjoyment via engaging writing and graphic design) and of historical communication, to ensure that messages are accurate, clear and persuasive

King Charles: King of England (1630-1685) reigned over England, Scotland, and Ireland

Larter Culture: The term, Larter, was used to identify a distinctive barbed projectile point termed, Larter Tanged, found in sites throughout Manitoba

La Vérendrye: A French fur trader from Quebec

Métis: People of First Nations and European heritage, primarily from French fathers and Saulteaux (Ojibway) mothers

Musket: A gun

Pelt: The skin of a fur bearing animal

Portage: The land between two waterways

Prehistoric Culture:  Cultures before the time of written history

Preservation: Maintaining as much extant historic material as possible, recognizing that buildings undergo alterations and additions through time and that these changes are important parts of its history

Queen Victoria: The Queen of England (1819-1901) was the Queen of England and Ireland from 1837 until her death in 1901

Radiocarbon Dating:  An absolute dating method that measures the decay of the radioactive isotope of carbon in organic matter

Red River Settlement: The settlement at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine River th that was established in 1812 – the precursor of the city of Winnipeg

Rehabilitation: While an emphasis remains on the maintenance of historic materials, there is more flexibility about alterations and modernization. Rehabilitation may be applied to a building chosen for adaptive reuse, a process in which the heritage character of the site is retained to the extent possible while it is completely altered for another purpose (e.g. a church becoming an apartment house, or a fire hall reused as a restaurant)

Reservation: An area of land owned and managed by a community of First Nations peoples

Restoration: A representation or reconstruction of the original form

Rupert’s Land: The name given to most of western Canada by King Charles II in 1670

Saulteaux: Tribal name for a group of First Nations people, a French term

Scrip: A term used to describe a certificate or voucher that shows the bearer’s right to something.  For example land

Stewardship: The conducting, supervising, or managing of something

Treaty: A Treaty is a formal agreement between two groups of peoples. The Numbered Treaties, which cover all of Manitoba, are formal agreements that created a relationship between the Crown and First Nations. As a result, each party has certain expectations and obligations, both explicit and implicit. The Numbered Treaties provided First Nations with such things as annuities, education, reserves and protection of their traditional economies, while the Crown acquired the means to open up territories, including modern day Manitoba, for settlement and agricultural and resource development.

First Nations and the Federal Government differ, however, in how they view Treaties – First Nations see the Treaties as covenants, while the Federal Government sees them primarily as contracts. First Nations believe that the Treaties are land sharing agreements, witnessed by the Creator, between two sovereign parties that established a permanent relationship.

The Federal Government acknowledges their solemnity, but they view the Treaties as land surrender agreements whereby First Nations ceded their territories to the Crown. As well, First Nations believe that the spirit of the agreement is what is most important, including oral commitments, whereas the Federal Government believes the written text is what is most important.

Link to Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba at:

York boat: A one-ton wooden boat rowed by nine men that was able to carry two to four tons of goods

Posted in Resources.