Walk with the Eeyou of Eeyou Istchee at the Canadian Museum of History

June 10, 2019


For immediate release

Gatineau, Quebec, June 10, 2019 — The Canadian Museum of History is pleased to present the award-winning Footprints – A Walk Through Generations, the first travelling exhibition developed by the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute in Oujé-Bougoumou, Quebec. The Cree people of northern Quebec identify themselves as the Eeyou of Eeyou Istchee — “People of the Land.” Through themes related to walking, this exhibition celebrates teachings, values, and the rich cultural history passed down from Eeyou Ancestors.

Footprints – A Walk Through Generations follows the evolution of travel through the eyes of the Eeyou, allowing visitors to experience their stories, arts, and traditional technologies by sharing in the people’s culture. Beginning with childhood Rites of Passage, the exhibition shares the importance of walking and an Eeyou child’s first footprints on Mother Earth. Walking for ceremonies and journeys demonstrates a respect of Elders’ teachings that are passed from generation to generation. An expression of Miyupimaatisiiwin (living life well), this exhibition encourages healthy living and interconnectedness with the land that sustains us all.

“This exhibition celebrates who we are as Cree people and our connection to this land we have travelled across and lived with for centuries,” said Dr. Sarah Pash, Executive Director for Aanischaaukamikw. “It also invites visitors to celebrate our culture and to share in knowledge about our history, our culture, our ceremony, and our stories. This sharing and celebration of Cree culture and history is of central importance to the Institute – a vision given to us by our Elders.”

Footprints – A Walk Through Generations is an important moment in Indigenous self-curation and self-determination,” said Jean-Marc Blais, Director General of the Canadian Museum of History. “We are pleased to present this exhibition at the Museum, particularly during the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages. We hope that it will continue its journey across the country, so that more Canadians can appreciate it.”

The exhibition contains approximately 150 artifacts that have been selected to demonstrate the many facets of walking in Cree culture, including everyday objects such as snowshoes, moccasins, parkas, tools for hunting and trapping, mittens as well as intricately decorated ceremonial outfits made for Eeyou children’s Rites of Passage milestones.

The materials used to create these objects demonstrate the wealth of resources found in Eeyou Istchee, while the techniques illustrate the people’s skill and artistry. Audio, video and photographs reveal the sights and sounds of Eeyou Istchee and its people. Compelling artwork by contemporary Cree artists is featured throughout the exhibit, illustrating another mode of creative expression of cultural identity.

Footprints – A Walk Through Generations was curated from a Cree perspective in collaboration with Elders from all 10 Cree communities in Northern Quebec, and is presented in Cree, English and French. It will be presented at the Canadian Museum of History from June 11 to November 3, 2019.

About the Canadian Museum of History

Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History welcomes over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum’s principal role is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada’s history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians’ awareness of world history and culture. Work of the Canadian Museum of History is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.

About Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute

Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute is a 30,000 square-foot museum and cultural centre, and is the James Bay Crees’ primary location for preservation of documents, media, and physical objects, designed for preservation, conservation, and knowledge transfer.

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Stéphanie Verner
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Telephone: 819-776-7169