All posts by Adm1n

Seven students from Mashteuiatsh visit the NMAI collections in Washington

From May 30 to June 7, 2013, seven students from the Kassinu Mamu school in Mashteuiatsh visited the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington. There they saw and studied objects from their community that are part of the holdings of this important museum.

The students Gabrielle Paul, Simon Buissière-Launière, Andrew Duchesne, Myriam-Uapukuniss Duchesne, Dexter-Ozzy Dubé, Annie-Sophie Neashish-Petiquay and Marie-Ange Raphaël-Germain were accompanied by Jeanine Tremblay and Sandy Raphaël as well as by their teacher, Marie-Ève Vanier. The group left Mashteuiatsh on Thursday, May 30, and arrived in Washington on Saturday, June 1st. They were accompanied by research assistants Julian Whittam and Martine Dubreuil.

Over the course of the winter, the students prepared for the trip by working with Louise Siméon of the Musée amérindien de Mashteuiatsh and research assistant Carole Delamour. They familiarised themselves with objects in the Speck Collection at the Musée de Mashteuiatsh and selected about twenty objects at the NMAI to work on during their stay in Washington. They learned about how museums conserve objects in their stores, and how the objects are cared for.

At the NMAI, the students worked with objects from the Speck Collection that they had chosen during the winter. Their contact with the objects was very special, as both the children and the accompanying adults shared their knowledge and feelings as they found themselves in direct contact with these ancient objects which are part of their heritage.

The students were given training in photography and video so that they could put together a presentation for their families when they returned to Mashteuiatsh as a way of sharing what they learned. They visited the storage areas of the museum, as well as the exhibition rooms. While they were in Washington, the students were also able to visit the Capitol building, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and the National Cemetery in Arlington. Some saw the president of the United State’s limousine near their hotel, and a few of them went to a Washington National’s baseball game.

On June 21st, National Aboriginal Day, at the Musée Amérindien de Mashteuiatsh, the students presented what they had learned to the community.

Krista Zawadski

Krista Zawadski is a master’s student in anthropology at UBC, with a focus on appropriating cultural centres. She will be looking at various types of museums and cultural centres that exist in the Canadian aboriginal context, including aspects such as collections management, storage, relationships with large institutions, and models for sustainability.

Julian Whittam

Julian WhittamJulian Whittam is a PhD candidate at the Université de Montréal. After growing up in the rural farmland south of Ottawa, he began a short career as a musician. An interest in historical musical instruments led him to the master’s programme in museum studies at the Université de Montréal. Research work in the course of this degree put him in contact with the Kitigan Zibi cultural education centre, and he has been working with members of the community since the project began. As one of the project’s research assistants, he has helped explore various aspects of repatriation in Kitigan Zibi and in Haida Gwaii.

James Turner

James TurnerJames M Turner is a professor affiliated with the École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information at the Université de Montréal. He holds a Ph.D. in information science from the University of Toronto. He taught in the areas of organising audiovisual collections and preserving digital information. His research areas include shot-level indexing of moving images, storage and retrieval of pictures, metadata for images in a networked environment, preserving digital audiovisual materials, and audio description and other access to images for users who are blind or have vision loss. More information about his activities is available at

Rene Tenasco

Rene Tenasco is a member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, employed as the aboriginal liaison officer for the National Capital Commission, in Ottawa, Ontario. At age 60, Rene’s priority is to generate and promote cultural initiatives in regard to Algonquin Anishinabeg nation building. His strenghts are in writing, being in nature, and his family life. He acts as an advisor to the museum exhibition renewal at the Kitigan Zibi Cultural Education Centre.

Samantha Tenasco

Samantha TenascoSamantha Tenasco is an Algonquin from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. She is completing a bachelor of arts in law at Carleton University in Ottawa, including a programme minor in indigenous studies. Her hobbies include indigenous arts and culture, and recreational sports such as hockey, broomball and softball. She was hired as a research resource person for the museum exchange project for Kitigan Zibi. She been researching repatriation and learning different processes in museum technology, both past and present, that were completed in the community.

France Tardif

France TardifFor 25 years, France Tardif was responsible for coordination, education, and research in the community milieu in Québec. In 2004, she undertook a master’s degree in museum studies at the Université de Montréal. In 2005, she became involved in action research involving universities, native communities, and their museums. She coordinated some aspects of these projects and participated in exhibitions and publications. She coordinated the Tshiue-natuapahtetau-Kigibiwewidonproject for its first year. She is presently working in a community youth group as a researcher and documentalist.