“A Foot in the Door”

It’s exciting to see the structural shape of the building for Aanischaaukamikw, Cree Cultural Institute in Oujé-Bougoumou start to emerge, to walk the newly poured concrete floors and to measure out in your mind the work rooms and public spaces.

Dog with moose leg

But it was even more intriguing, during a recent visit, to see two dogs wander onto the site, one with what appeared to be a stick in his mouth. He carried it to an interior wall and carefully placed it in a corner, leaning up against the wall. After the dogs left, we moved closer to find that the “stick” was a moose leg, from about the knee down to the hoof.

Whether a gift, a way of “burying” his prize for later, or just playing around, this was the kind of experience that puts this project squarely in the North, in a place where people, and animals, still gather much of their food from the land.

Stephen Inglis