Cree Cultural Institute launches travelling exhibit

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It’s a time of reflection and gratitude for Abel Bosum as he welcomes the crowd gathered in Oujé-Bougoumou to inaugurate the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute’s first traveling exhibition. “We’ve accomplished something here,” Bosum told the Nation. “It’s certainly a wonderful feeling seeing that the exhibit is ready to hit the road.”

The exhibit, Footprints: A Walk Through Generations, is the culmination of three years of hard work by staff at the Cultural Institute, as well as countless contributions from the 10 Cree communities, Elders, artists and storytellers.

For both the Cultural Institute, on whose board Bosum sits as president, and Eeyou Istchee culture in general, the inauguration is a milestone. A symbol of how Cree culture has gone from surviving to thriving.

It’s both a showcase and a celebration of Cree traditions, teachings and values through the eyes of the Cree and tied to the theme of walking. “It’s about walking on the land that your ancestors have walked for many generations,” said Bosum. “It’s intended to help you appreciate how important the environment is and why we need to protect it for the next generation.”

Bosum himself was preparing to go out on the land during his interview with the Nation.

“Walking is a form of healing and many people are returning to that approach of walking to deal with this crazy world we live in,” he observed. “It reminds us of where we come from and what’s important. It roots us down to who we are and what we need to pass on.”


Footprints will be on display throughout the summer at the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute in Oujé-Bougoumou. In the winter it will begin its tour of the Cree communities with the goal of going across Canada.

“The exhibit will go down through Quebec and into Ontario,” said Rob Imrie, Director of Programs at the institute. “From that point, it’s on to museums in western Canada.”

From a reconciliation standpoint, the Canadian tour couldn’t be more timely. As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, non-Indigenous Canada remains, in large part, ignorant of the diversity of Indigenous cultures. The exhibit seeks to bridge that gap in the name of reconciliation.

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