Book Launch and Premier of the “Mind’s Eye”


OUJÉ-BOUGOUMOU, QC, Feb. 24, 2014 /CNW/ – Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute (ACCI) is pleased to announce the Book launch of the Mind’s Eye written by Emily Masty and Susan Marshall and premier performance of the theatrical production, Mind’s Eye, on March 1, 2014 in Whapmagoostui.

The theatrical production, Mind’s Eye, is directed by Shirley Cheechoo, An accomplished playwright, actor, visual artist, writer and director, Dr. Shirley Cheechoo is also a member of the James Bay Cree of Quebec.

Mind’s Eye Synopsis
Historical, mystical and poignant, Minds Eye is a play that chronicles the first chapters of the book by the same name written by Emily Masty and Susan Marshall. Following powerful stories of survival, courage, honour and community, Mind’s Eye breathes life into our great mysteries and truths as we encounter The Lady Spirit of the Caribou and other animal spirits while Akanipitat and his people move through times of suffering and times of abundance. Narrated by a Cree Elder, Minds Eye magically follows the lives of hunters and their families through spirit encounters, shaking tent ceremonies, and haunting dreams as they face life, death and redemption until the final warning that soon, they will encounter visitors that will alter their lives forever.

The objectives are to presents two performances to each of the Cree communities in Eeyou Istchee, first performance for the general public and the second performance will be for the students.

The tour date of the theatrical production, Mind’s Eye, as follows;

March 1 & 3 Whapmagoostui (Premier)
March 4-5 Chisasibi
March 6-7 Wemindji
March 8 & 10 Eastmain
March 11-12 Waskaganish
March 13-14 Nemaska
March 16-17 Mistissini
March 18-19 Waswanipi
March 20-21 Oujé-Bougoumou
March 25 Ambassador’s Gala (Oujé-Bougoumou)

We see this production as a way to ensure that the treasured stories of our Elders, and the knowledge that they have to share, continues to be passed on from generation to generation. Aanischaaukamikw holds this as one of our most sacred obligations as we strive to work in new and innovative ways. We are grateful to the Elders of Whapmagoostui and to Emily Masty and Susan Marshall for the work they have done in order to record these stories. Mind’s Eye is an enormous achievement in maintaining our culture’s rich traditions, and we hope that this theatrical production will showcase the contribution that the book has made.

ACCI is looking forward to presenting our theatrical production for each community. ACCI is extremely excited about this project and opportunity it has provided to collaborate with the Cree Nation of Whapmagoostui in order to celebrate the stories of our ancestors.

ACCI receives prestigious national award for excellence from the Canadian Museums Association for theatrical production of Mind’s Eye!


Aanischaaukamikw, the Cree Cultural Institute located in Oujé-Bougoumou, one of the 10 Cree communities that form the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee in Northern Quebec, is this year’s recipient of the Canadian Museums Association’s highly prestigious Award of Outstanding Achievement in Education for its project Mind’s Eye: Stories from the Heart of Eeyou Istchee.

This theatrical production traveled some 3500 kilometers in March 2014 throughout the Cree territory in Quebec, performing in schools in both coastal and inland communities. More than 2000 people viewed this very powerful play, directed by Cree playwright Shirley Cheechoo and performed by young Cree actors.

Dr. Sarah Pashagumskum, Director of Programs for Aanischaaukamikw, explains: “This recognition, from our peers in the museum, education, and arts communities of Canada, makes receiving the award an extremely special moment in the life of this new institution.”

“When Aanischaaukamikw opened in 2012, it was the completion of the extraordinary vision of our Elders, and has been realized through the partnership of the Crees, governments, and the private sector. While the Institute itself is physically located in Oujé-Bougoumou, the work of Aanischaaukamikw is derived from, and is expressed in, all the communities of Eeyou Istchee, and “Mind’s Eye” is a wonderful expression of what we are all about: protecting, preserving, and passing on the richness of our stories, our ways, and our culture.”

Upon bestowing this prestigious award to Aanischaaukamikw, the Canadian Museums Association stated, “The excellence of this project lies in its innovative use of live theatre to communicate oral history to new audiences. For many, it changed their perception of heritage since they had never seen a play of this kind before. It resulted in strengthened communications between the youth and elders. The Jury was unanimous in recognizing that your submission met all of the Association’s criteria for outstanding achievement.”

The 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.