Edward Sapir et la recherche anthropologique au Musée National du Canada 1910–1925
In 1910, a Division of Anthropology was created within the Geological Survey of Canada; it was the beginning of the Canadian National Museum. Its first chief was Edward Sapir, who had been strongly recommended by his former teacher Franz Boas. Sapir soon established two major objectives of his new post, namely, to introduce a professionalism into the hitherto amateurish manner anthropology had previously been practiced in Canada, and to engage in an extensive collection of linguistic and ethnographic data among the different indigenous peoples of Canada whose cultural heritage was threatened by Western civilization.In order to attain the first goal Sapir sought the employment of university trained researchers, mainly coming from Britain and the United States. He engaged himself in fostering contacts with the scientific community, both nationally and internationally, encouraging at the same time the establishment of departments of anthropology at Canadian universities.His second objective was probably his greatest success. In order to realize the broad and systematic collection of cultural material among the American Indians and the Inuits of Canada, he hired a number of researchers, several of which became subsequently leading figures in North-American anthropology, Marius Barbeau, Harlan I. Smith, James A. Teit, and later Thomas F. McIlwraith collected data on West-Coast Indians. The Athabaskans of the North-West were visited by Diamond Jenness and J. Alden Mason, the Sioux and the Cris of the Prairies by Wilson D. Wallis and Leonard Bloomfield. Paul Radin and Albert B. Reagan were doing research on the Ojibwa of Ontario whereas Barbeau, Alexander Goldenweiser and Frederic Waugh concentrated their attention on the Hurons of Ontario and Quebec. Groups of the Eastern Provinces were studied by William H. Mechling and Cyrus MacMillan. Jenness, Christian Leden, and E. W. Hawkes took a particular interest in the customs of the Inuit.In 1925 Sapir relinquishes his post as chief of the Anthropological Division, but not before having firmly established the basis of what was to become the National Museum of Man in Ottawa, Canada.