An unusual construction in Odanak

An unusual construction in Odanak

Archaeologist Geneviève Treyvaud with Vicky Desfossés-Bégin of the Musée des Abénakis d’Odanak. Behind, we can see the structure of the traditional house and some workers. (Photo) (Photo: Marie-Eve Veillette)

A traditional 19th century Abenaki house is about to open its doors on the grounds of the Abenaki Museum in Odanak.

Last week, the structure was taking shape. It is made up of piles cut from spruce logs from the public forests of the ancestral Abenaki territory (the Ndakinna). In the following days, it was planned to cover the walls, which will be made of synthetic bark made of recycled plastic.

“It is a traditional house, yes, but built according to the constraints and realities of the 21st century,” says archaeologist Geneviève Treyvaud, a member of the work team. In the past, the Abenaki people changed the bark of their homes every year, which is unthinkable today because of the regulations surrounding the protection of forests.”

“It is a contemporary adaptation of the dwelling that we are making,” adds Vicky Desfossés-Bégin of the Musée des Abénakis. It is reproduced with today’s material for a question of sustainability as well.”

A project rich in history

This building is being built on the site itself, where archaeological excavations, carried out from 2010 to last year, have uncovered traces of this type of dwelling. These researches, it should be recalled, focused on the fortified mission of the Abenaki fort, dating from 1680 to 1759.

“When the excavations were conducted, several traces of posts, pickets and piles were found,” says Ms. Treyvaud, noting that these traces were left when they were burned, after Major Robert Rogers’ troops attacked the Abenaki fort and set fire to the village and chapel in 1759.

The original idea was to reproduce a house from that period. However, the project has been reviewed according to the wood available to carry it out. “We expected to receive wooden poles… but we were delivered trees,” laughs Mrs. Treyvaud. First Nations were very strong in adapting to their environment and available resources, so we are continuing in the same vein!”

In the end, it’s a bad thing for a good,” says Vicky Desfossés-Bégin, “since the traditional house of the early 19th century is not a type of housing presented elsewhere in Quebec. Indeed, it is rather prehistoric prehistoric pre-colonial dwellings that can usually be visited; a little like the one planned at the beginning of the project. “We thought that with[the material received], we would be able to build on a less well-known period in First Nations history,” says Treyvaud.

It is therefore a house representing the period of contact with Europeans and the beginning of the colony that the Museum will offer to its visitors. “This is a time when the Aboriginal house is very mixed because of the two cultures that coexist. Each takes a little from the other. On the one hand, the first settlers adapted to the Native people’s food and ways of fishing and hunting; on the other hand, the First Nations adapted their tools with European materials, such as ceramics and copper pots.”

Welcome to Kwigw8mna!

The house will be fully equipped with reproductions of artifacts. We’ll feel like we’re entering someone’s home.

To recreate this past living environment, the team behind the project conducted extensive research on traditional Abenaki houses throughout the Ndakinna, which includes not only much of southern Quebec to the Chaudière River, but also Maine and New Hampshire. “We consulted all kinds of historical sources to get a realistic picture of both the inside and outside of these homes,” says Treyvaud.

The archaeological data collected during the eight years of excavations in Odanak were also valuable allies in the implementation of the project.

Despite everything, the work team does not claim to affirm that its construction will be an authentic house. “It will not necessarily have the same shape. We think the houses may have been rounder. On the other hand, there may have been other forms as well.”

Construction began on June 25. We plan to finish it this week, if all goes well. The Montreal-based company Aboriginal Technologies is carrying out the work, with the help of three residents of Odanak.

Once the structure and cladding are completed, the interior and exterior layout will be completed. “All around the house, we want to create a vegetable garden of medicinal and traditional plants, with seeds indigenous to the time,” says Vicky Desfossés-Bégin.

Finally, it should be noted that the project was funded by Canadian Heritage. He also received support from the Band Council, Grand Council and the Ndakinna office. The new attraction will be called Kwigw8mna, which means “our home” in Abenaki.

Source: Article by Marie-Ève Veillette in Le Courrier Sud


Minister Jean Boulet confirms more than $13 million to support First Nations and Inuit in their efforts to find employment

Minister Jean Boulet confirms more than $13 million to support First Nations and Inuit in their efforts to find employment

In order to enable First Nations and Inuit members to take their place in the labour market, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister responsible for the Mauricie region, Jean Boulet, has confirmed an investment of more than $13 million through the Alliances for Solidarity and the First Nations and Inuit Employment Integration Assistance Program (FNIHAP).

Funded with $4.8 million, FNIHAP aims to help 500 First Nations and Inuit people enter the labour market by 2023. Directly related to the Great Tasks 2.0, this program is designed to help First Nations and Inuit people gain meaningful first work experience and help them stay employed.

PAIPNI makes it possible to finance up to 80% of the gross salary of the person receiving it and to cover up to 100% of the direct costs related to training. It also provides support measures for new hires and funding to adapt the workplace or human resources tools for successful integration. The implementation of the PAIPNI is done in collaboration with members of the communities concerned to effectively meet the needs of workers.

The Alliances for Solidarity enable the Aboriginal organizations that signed these agreements, in collaboration with their partners in their territories, to address the fight against poverty and social exclusion according to regionally agreed priorities, including school retention and professional integration. Total investments in this regard amount to $8.3 million.

“I encourage First Nations and Inuit people to apply for available jobs, as it is through access to the labour market that they will be able to bring their talents and expertise to their respective communities. Thus, through PAIPNI and the Alliances pour la solidarité, we are mobilizing an available workforce, reducing the effects of labour scarcity on the Quebec economy. »

Jean Boulet, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister responsible for the Mauricie region

“I am delighted with this announcement that will allow First Nations and Inuit to enter the labour market. First Nations and Inuit represent a dynamic young workforce whose strengths and talents must be highlighted. By working together, we will help to address the challenge of labour shortage. »

Sylvie D’Amours, Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister responsible for the Laurentian region

Highlights :

  • On May 13, Minister Boulet launched the second phase of the Grande corvée: the Grande corvée 2.0. It is aimed directly at workers, while the first phase aims to anticipate the needs of companies to help them cope with labour shortages.
  • Since the beginning of the Great Hardship 2.0, measures have been announced to bring different under-represented groups closer to the labour market: experienced workers (May 13), people with disabilities (June 5) and members of Aboriginal communities (June 28).
  • Until 2023, the government is continuing the Alliances for Solidarity through three agreements to fight poverty and social exclusion signed with the Kativik Regional Government, the Cree Nation Government and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission, which receive $2 million, $2.2 million and $4.1 million respectively.

Related links :

First Nations and Inuit Employment Integration Assistance Program (FNIHAP)

Alliances for solidarity


“Kwei Kwai! “of ICI Mauricie Centre-du-Québec

« Kwei Kwaï! » d’ICI Mauricie Centre-du-Québec

Kwei Kwaï! is a series of reports by ICI Mauricie Centre-du-Québec on the various Aboriginal peoples who occupy the vast territory of Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec.

Among the various interviews conducted, three of them proudly represent the Abenaki Nation.

First, meet Marc-Olivier O’Bomsawin, “the youngest elder” who explains how this great interest in his culture was born. – Click here!

Then, we invite you to discover the young people of the Niona project who present their project of diffusion and enhancement of Abenaki culture. – Click here!

Finally, meet the multidisciplinary artist and clothing anthropologist Sylvain Rivard. – Click here!

A big thank you to Josée Bourassa and all her team for this great visibility and for her great interest in our Nation.




Did you know that some snowshoes had a pattern that identified which family the traces left in the snow belonged to?

In this edition of Abenaki in Business, we are talking about the babiche, a material that was widely used by Jean-Paul Lamirande of the workshop La Plume Blanche in Odanak. A passionate craftsman, he is known for his work on snowshoes and chairs made of sinew, as well as for the Oliver Lodge exhibition, which once taught us more about Abenaki culture.




There’s news in Kiuna!

This is a brand new ACS in Event Coordination that will be offered at Kiuna Institution in the fall 2019 session. In the Arts, Letters and Communication program, the Algonquin language (beginner level) will be added to Atikamekw, Abenaki and Innu. There is still time to register!

For more information, you can visit the Kiuna Institution’s website:


Alanis Obomsawin, visual artist, by Caroline Montpetit – Le Devoir

Alanis Obomsawin, visual artist, by Caroline Montpetit – Le Devoir

Illustration: Alanis Obomsawin Alanis Obomsawin, “The Great Visit”, 2007

Caroline Montpetit, Le Devoir, June 8, 2019 – After the 1990 Oka crisis, Wabanaki artist Alanis Obomsawin, known mainly as a documentary filmmaker, felt the need to express herself through the visual arts. She then created a monotype on plexiglass representing a horse’s head and called it Cheval vert. This green horse, she’s already met him in a dream. In this dream, the horse chased her every day. One day, to avoid it, she enters a house where a man sleeps, which she must not wake up otherwise she will be raped. She comes into contact with the horse and promises to visit him every day in exchange for his freedom.

At the age of 86, Alanis Obomsawin presented her first solo exhibition of her work, mainly drypoint prints, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The works presented were all made after 1990, although the artist began working on engraving in the 1970s. There are themes dear to the artist’s heart, several engravings related to the animal world, Amerindian history and motherhood. A series of engravings, showing mothers with their children, is entitled Mother of So Many Children. That is the name Alanis Obomsawin gave to a film she made in 1975. “It was the Year of the Woman,” he recalls. God, that was hard to achieve. Today, it’s easier, I don’t need to fight anymore,” she says in an interview. In general, she is very optimistic about the situation of Aboriginal people in Canada. She is happy to see Aboriginal youth getting up and fighting rather than thinking about suicide. Nevertheless, his work reflects some of the misery endured by indigenous communities, and Wabanaki in particular, over the decades.

“In Aboriginal culture, women kept children with them at all times. They wore them to work until they were four or five years old. It was a very important aspect of culture,” she says. However, one of his engravings, entitled Qu’est devenu mon enfant, illustrates the drama experienced by mothers whose children were forced to be taken to residential school. Some of these mothers never saw their children again, and never knew what had happened to them.

Braided baskets The exhibition also presents elements of Wabanaki culture, including the fabulous baskets that have made the reputation of its people. “At one time,” says Alanis Obomsawin, “everyone made baskets. “She says she misses the sweetgrass that dried in front of every house in Odanak. One of his works is dedicated to Agnès Panadis, a basket weaver known in the village. The museum room dedicated to the exhibition also offers magnificent specimens of these baskets. A wedding basket, designed by Emilia M’Sadoqies, is decorated with a multitude of small baskets, and a bird carrying one in its beak. And you have to hear Alanis Obomsawin talk about how her mother ran away to avoid selling the baskets to tourists. The exhibition also features an embroidered collar and bag from Alanis Obomsawin’s grandmother, Marie-Anne Nagajoie. “My grandmother, Marie-Anne Nagajoie, said, “Mariah will have a difficult life because she refuses to make baskets,” she says.

Another engraving refers to Ozonkhiline, the Waban-Aki who walked the rails from Odanak to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in 1823. “It was a time when we were losing all the land,” she says. Dartmouth University was built on Aboriginal land. For this reason, Aboriginal people had the right to attend classes free of charge. “It was education that Ozonkhilin had gone to look for on foot. Upon his return to the village, Ozonkhilin became a Methodist pastor and introduced Protestantism to the village.

The importance of dreams Dreams, very important in Native American culture, have always been of great help to Alanis Obomsawin, who found peace in sleep. She remembers that in one of them, foreigners living in Odanak wanted to bury her alive because she was different. In her dream, she emerged from the cemetery, topped with animal woods. From that moment on, she was able to move around the village comfortably because she had become invisible.

Yet Alanis Obomsawin is anything but invisible or buried. On Friday, she gave interviews dressed in red, in honour of murdered or missing Aboriginal women and girls. This is the colour that the museum gave to the walls of the exhibition, for the same reason.

Alanis Obomsawin, engraved works. An artist and her nation: the waban-akis basket makers of Odanak Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, June 7 to August 25, 2019

Source: Le Devoir 




Chiefs and elected representatives of the Innu, Maliseet, Abenaki and Atikamekw Nations gathered Thursday in Quebec City to seal an international alliance based on the affirmation of their right to self-determination and their inherent right to self-government. Through this Declaration, the signatory First Nations provide themselves with the means to affirm and strengthen their relationship, in particular by concluding agreements or arrangements that promote harmonious coexistence on the territory;

“That the relationship between us, the signatory First Nations, be based on the recognition and respect of our respective rights, needs and culture, while promoting mutual assistance, collaboration, exchange and partnership, as our ancestors would have done. […]  […] That we, the signatory First Nations, be the guardians of these commitments and ensure their implementation” – Extract from the Declaration.

This unprecedented approach is in line with the desire of the First Nations concerned to send a clear message to governments that no form of political interference can be tolerated when it comes to agreements or measures likely to have an impact on our never-transferred territories. As the ancestral territories of Ndakinna, Nitaskinan, Nitassinan and Wolastokuk were never ceded, the Nations thus affirm their legitimate rights to decide autonomously on the future, use and management of the respective ancestral territories. They agree that it is their responsibility to establish agreements concerning them according to their values and customs.

“Since time immemorial, and long before the arrival of European settlers, the Innu, Maliseet, Abenaki and Atikamekw First Nations have lived continuously on the territories of their ancestors. Historically, when it comes to overlapping areas, we have always been able to share and manage land use harmoniously. It is up to us to decide what we want or do not want on our territories,” the elected representatives said.

This alliance, sealed on the basis of the right to self-determination and the inherent right of self-government, demonstrates a clear commitment to take the necessary steps to affirm and strengthen relations between nations. It links the Innu First Nations of Pekuakamiulnuatsh (Mashteuiatsh), Essipit, Pessamit, Abenaki of Wôlinak and Odanak, Maliseet of Viger as well as Atikamekw of Manawan and Wemotaci.


CALL FOR APPLICATIONS | CBC Mobile Aboriginal Journalism Bureau

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS | CBC Mobile Aboriginal Journalism Bureau

Radio-Canada Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec is launching a call for applications for its future Mobile Aboriginal Journalism Bureau. This new initiative will provide an additional voice for First Nations on all platforms of the public broadcaster.

The members of this team, as its name suggests, will be mobile in the field, reaching out to communities to address Aboriginal realities in a journalistic context, but also from a social, community and cultural perspective. Interested candidates must be a registered member of a First Nation and have a minimum of one year of experience in an Aboriginal environment (all sectors combined).

“As a public broadcaster, our mission is unique. Canadians are gathered 24 hours a day from coast to coast to coast. This initiative engages citizens across the country in conversation: on radio, television and digital. We want to tell the stories from here, innovate in the ways we do it and constantly push our limits. “explains Nancy Sabourin, Project Manager, Director of Radio-Canada Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec.

Interested candidates should submit their CV and a covering letter to Nancy Sabourdin ( before June 29, 2019.




With the help of lyricist Jonathan Harnois, students from Kiuna Institution wrote the song Mémoire pour Elisapie.

There is a tremendous energy in this room in honour of Magtogoek, the river of great waters. Major chords, undulating pulsations, poetry of the text; here everything conspires to highlight a deep indigenous voice.

Here are the details of the project:

The St. Lawrence is a strong symbol of our identity geography; the relationship we have with it is multiple and complex. With the brand new project LE SAINT-LAURENT CHANTÉ, powered by the COWBOYS FRINGANTS FOUNDATION, in collaboration with the DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION, 11 exceptional creators wanted to explore the link that unites us to this majestic waterway: Alex Nevsky, Patrice Michaud, Marie-Pierre Arthur, Maude Audet, Antoine Corriveau, Elisapie, Salomé Leclerc, Jérôme Minière, Galaxie, Saratoga, as well as songwriter Jonathan Harnois.

To achieve this, the collective asked Quebec youth to lend a hand by inviting them to share their vision of the river they encounter on a daily basis. Students from Kiuna Institution proudly participated in this project!

Three meetings with each group allowed the author Jonathan Harnois to discover the relationship that these young people have with the river. It was also an opportunity to include them in a reflection and to invite them to tame their creativity through writing. Inspired by this in-depth contact, the author wrote the texts for the album, which were then set to music and performed by 10 renowned artists.

It is therefore at the end of a great collective effort that the 10 songs of this superb album are born!




The Wôlinak Abenaki Council, owner of the Résidence au Soleil de Levant de Précieux-Sang, has announced that the services of the Résidence au Soleil Levant will be improved and oriented more towards a semi-autonomous or frail clientele, particularly towards people living with cognitive disorders.

This new orientation is intended first of all to respond to the pressing need to integrate new residents living with Alzheimer’s disease. “The increasing prevalence of disease and other major neurocognitive disorders is a major challenge for society and we are aware of the need to adapt services for these people to the Residence in the Rising Sun,” says Band Council Executive Director Dave Bernard. “That is why we have decided to redevelop Pavilion C on the second floor, just like Pavilion A on the first floor.

“The residence has five pavilions, including 17 people residing in Pavilion A, and this number could increase to 32 people with the addition of Pavilion C. In addition, the D/E Pavilion can accommodate people with mild cognitive impairments or semi-autonomous or frail people up to 34 people. While Pavilion B is reserved for respite or convalescent beds (5 people),” says Bernard.

“What distinguishes our residence from others is that we can offer our residents the opportunity to change pavilions according to their level of care until the end of their lives. In addition, our residence can accommodate up to six couples, despite their different health care services, the most important factor for us is that they can stay together no matter what. This is part of our values and that’s where our favourite phrase “C comme à la maison” comes into its own,” adds Executive Director Martine Pépin.

Over the past year, major changes have been made to the residence, including the management of nursing care, the arrival of new bath attendants, the hiring of new resources as an attendant, the revival of a homemade kitchen with our cooks on site, etc.

And, these changes will continue on the second floor with the upgrading to the standards for the reception of new residents in Pavilion C, specialized with people with neurocognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. “When it comes to standards, the following requirements must be met: 24-hour supervision, nursing care, sprinklers, closed guard station, code runaway door and the provision of a pleasant and motivating living environment. The redevelopment of Pavilion C will specifically meet the standards,” explains Ms. Pepin.

In short, as of July 1, the residence will be able to accommodate seven new residents and families interested in visiting the site are invited to contact the Executive Director, Martine Pepin, at 819-294-1161, ext. 1. As well, the residence is looking for rare pearls to fill its team of beneficiary attendants for the reopening of Pavilion C.

Source: Le Courrier Sud