John Ramsay Story: Friendship and Tragedy at Sandy Bar
Start date: 21 November, 2017
End date: 21 October, 2018
A new permanent exhibit that will explore and celebrate the fascinating and long-standing relationship between First Nations people and the Icelanders who settled on the West shore of Lake Winnipeg in 1875.
The centerpiece of this exhibit will be the tragic story of John Ramsay. Instead of doing a standard museum treatment, we have approached William Prince a rising star on Canada’s music scene and a member of the Peguis First Nation to write a compelling, original ballad that tells the John Ramsay story in a music video. Ramsay was a member of Prince’s band. Ramsay’s descendants will be a part of the storytelling, too.
It was Ramsay who made sure the settlers did not starve and when a terrible Smallpox epidemic swept through the colony in 1876, Ramsay brought a doctor north. The aboriginal community at Sandy Bar, including most of Ramsay’s family, was wiped out by the Smallpox epidemic and 100 souls from the fledgling Icelandic community perished too. After Ramsay’s death, he appeared in an Icelandic settler’s dreams, beseeching him to go to his wife’s grave and repair it, which the settler did.
Nature of the Project Reach
This project will reach the over 5,000 visitors that come to the New Iceland Heritage Museum annually including families, youth and seniors who visit from other parts of Manitoba, Canada and the world.
Our intention is to create an exhibit that will permanently celebrate this long-standing bond by creating an exhibit that will tell a story not often told.