3rd annual meeting, Kitigan Zibi, September 30th to October 2nd, 2013

From September 30th to October 2nd, 2013, researchers, partners, participants, and research assistants for the CURA project Tshiue-natuapahtetau / Kigibiwewidon gathered in the Kitigan Zibi Cultural Education Centre for the project’s third annual meeting.

Each day began and ended with a prayer by Elders Josie Whiteduck and Peter Decontie. On the first morning, Elder Decontie also performed a purification ceremony and Misko McGregor sang and drummed an honour song, accompanied by the drum.

This meeting looked back on the project’s accomplishments since November 2012. Attendees were updated on progress on exhibitions, repatriation and the project’s website. Two workshops were held during the meeting. One dealt with integrating language into the project and the other dealt with documentation and conservation, particularly concerning what information can be disseminated, according to the community’s needs.

Laurie Decontie from Kitigan Zibi and Monique Verreault from Mashteuiatsh made presentations on the importance of language, in their respective communities. Doctor Rongo H. Wetere and his wife, Marcia Krawll, were also invited to this meeting. Doctor Wetere is the founder of Te Wananga o Aotearoa, a Maori university in New Zealand. He is also the director of the Arrowmight Canada Foundation. He spoke about an arts mentoring program for young Maoris. Suzy Basile, from the Assembly of First Nations Quebec and Labrador, spoke about research protocols for indigenous communities and the importance of finding fair ways to share the benefits of research projects between researchers and First Nations people.

Tuesday night, the community of Kitigan Zibi welcomed attendees to the Kikinamadinan school for a traditional community supper, organized in collaboration with the local broomball team. Élise Dubuc, Anita Tenasco and Jean-Denis Gill explained the project to community members. Students from Kitigan Zibi presented the videos they had made during their trip to Washington, last August, and Julian Whittam and Jean-Denis Gill presented photos summarizing the trip to Washington made by students from the Kassinu Mamu Secondary School, in Mashteuiatsh.