Yesterday was an inspiring day to honour an inspiring and heroic voyage. Earth Day, April 22, marked the 25th anniversary of the journey of the Odeyak from Whapmagoostui to New York City. Youth delegates Elders along with past and present Cree leaders from all corners of Eeyou Istchee gathered together at Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute (ACCI) to commemorate and celebrate the remarkable effort of the Inuit and Cree peoples to stop the damming of the Great Whale River.
Daniel Bosum Sr.
The day was launched with a warm welcome from Joshua Iserhoff, Youth Grand Chief of the Cree Nation Youth Council, ACCI’s president Abel Bosum & Willie Iserhoff, Director of Culture for the Cree Nation Government. A beautiful blessing from elder Daniel Bosum Sr. and opening hand drum song from Redfern Mianscum set the tone for the day.
Original paddles from the Odeyak voyage were reunited with the watercraft. One paddle coming from Vermont, donated by Dr. Hans Carlson, and the others coming from Eastmain, donated by CBC’s own Christopher Herodier. We thank them for their generous donation; the paddles will become part of the permanent collection at ACCI.
Odeyak Paddlers & Nishiyuu Walkers
The day was not only a day of commemoration, youth empowerment and environmental stewardship, but also day of celebration! CBC North’s Christopher Herodier broadcast live from Aanischaaukamikw during the lunch hubbub for his radio show Eyou Dipajimoon, when delegates and participants had a chance to mingle, chat with old friends and meet new ones. After lunch Powwow dancer Darren Saganash danced as the Waseshkun Drummers from Waswanipi filled the Billy Diamond Hall with the heartbeat of the drum. Lloyd Cheechoo, Richard Bosum, & Diane Bosum sang beautiful songs for us. Christopher Herodier made an impromptu performance with some great tunes. The day ended fittingly with a stunning vocal performance from rising star Miriame Hasni.
The Cree Nation Youth Council and ACCI could not have realized this important regional event without the generous support from the Cree Nation Government’s Department of Culture, the Ministry of Culture of Quebec, Air Creebec, Cree Outfitters and Tourism Association, Cree Native Arts and Crafts Association, and Ouje-Bougoumou Cree First Nation.
Nick Wapachee in line at the feast
Elder’s at the feast
Nick Wapachee, Miriame Hasni
Willie Iserhoff, Matthew Mukash, Sarah Pash & Able Bosum