Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute proudly announces its Grand Opening and Cree Nation Cultural Celebration from June 7 to 9, 2012



(Oujé-Bougoumou, QC), April 4, 2012: Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute proudly announces its Grand Opening and Cree Nation Cultural Celebration from June 7 to 9, 2012.  A three day celebration co-hosted by the UN award-winning community of Oujé-Bougoumou, QC, Aanischaaukamikw will open its doors to the entire world, inviting visitors from near and far to participate in a rich cultural experience centred around this breathtaking new addition to the Canadian museum landscape. A special Opening Ceremony, to be attended by leaders from government, industry, and the worldwide cultural community will be held on June 8, 2012.

Aanischaaukamikw, which was quietly launched in a moving Dedication Ceremony on November 15, 2011, is a unique and beautiful architectural space holding a museum, archive, library, and teaching and cultural areas. It serves as the James Bay Crees’ primary facility for the preservation and conservation of documents, media, and physical objects and is the ultimate expression of the vision of Cree Elders who recognized the need to capture and maintain Cree traditional knowledge.  Aanischaaukamikw exists to foster and support the process of aanschaa or cultural continuity, acting as a conduit for the sharing of the unique art, music, legends, artifacts, and ways of the Crees.

The inaugural exhibition showcases artefacts that range from the ancient to recent past.  Sources of immense pride, these objects demonstrate our connection to the land and clearly show how our system of values and beliefs is derived from this special relationship.

The theme of the Grand Opening event pays homage to our past, present and future with scheduled activities designed to be reflective of each period.  The unique flavor and personality of each of the nine Cree communities will be on display – to be seen and heard and sampled by all.  “The Past” will focus on the traditional elements of our ancient culture.  Some examples include storytelling by elders, needlework and wood carving demonstrations, traditional foods cooked over an open fire, and of course fiddle music and dance.  “The Present” expands on this concept but includes cultural and artistic variations adapted from neighbouring nations, while “The Future” presents a platform for our region’s musicians and artists of all mediums from which to display their awesome talents.  All three days will also provide visitors with a chance to personally experience the exceptional exhibit, collections and cultural programs on-site and at Ouje-Bougoumou’s cultural village.

Situated between the towns of Chibougamau and Chapais, the Institute is easily reached by air and major roadways. Visitors can expect nothing less than a truly unique, rich cultural event as we rejoice in the amazing accomplishment that is Aanischaaukamikw.

Media Contact:

Nian Matoush
Marketing and Communications Officer
C) 418-770-7659

Grand Opening Contact:

Stella Bearskin
Event Coordinator
C 418-770-8159

The Canadian Museums Association Awards Dianne Ottereyes Reid the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal


Dianne Reid Ottereyes

On April 25, 2012 I had the good fortune to witness a little piece of history in real time as Aanischaaukamikw’s President, Dianne Reid Ottereyes was honoured with the presentation of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal at the Canadian Museums Association’s 65th National Conference and Awards Gala in Gatineau, Quebec.  We join Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come and MP Romeo Saganash to once again congratulate and salute Dianne for a well-deserved award.  Congratulations as well to all of CMA’s 2012 award recipients.

For those unfamiliar with the medal, it was created exclusively to commemorate sixty years since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne (1952-2012). The Canadian Museums Association was chosen as one of the few non-governmental organizations invited to award a limited number of these commemorative medals.  Awarded to museum professionals who have made significant contributions and achievements, Dianne was recognized for her contributions to Canadian culture and heritage.  Specifically, this award recognizes her leadership role in the preservation of Cree culture which has led to the establishment of the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute.

As the commencement of the Awards Gala approached, and with family, friends and coworkers forming a tightly knit circle of support, we joined in the celebratory mood led by Dianne.  We each waited for an opportunity to share our congratulations and of course, stood proudly beside Dianne for countless photographs.  From there on, the evening progressed with the presentation of medals by the Honorable Rob Moore in first order of the evening’s program.  No one cheered or clapped more loudly than Dianne’s entourage as she was called onstage and presented with the medal.  In a quiet moment of reflection during a more subdued period of celebration, Dianne’s only comment described her pride in accepting the medal “on behalf of our Elders”.

I think each one of us present at the Awards Gala truly shared in the joy of the moment since we, as employees, get to witness the tangible results of the efforts of Dianne and the Elders every time we enter the building.  Aanischaaukamikw itself is an awesome symbol of how vision can be turned into reality.   I felt in that moment that a truly important achievement had been accomplished, because others cared enough about our future to consider preserving  our language, history, traditions, and legends.  And in the spirit of Cree hospitality, we welcome all visitors for the chance to experience this unique cultural institute and museum.