Aanischaaukamikw Cultural Institute
Aanischaaukamikw Cultural Institute, a regional cultural organization of the Crees, is located in Oujé-Bougoumou.
Manyof our cultural activities take place in our culture village, which features examples of several traditional Cree dwellings.
This three-day festival in September, before the lakes freeze, is heldto bid farewell to the trappers before they go off to their trap-lines for the winter. Activities include games, the walking-out ceremony, arts and crafts displays, story-telling by the elders, traditional activities, smoking traditional food for winter storage and a feast.
The winter festival is a three-to-four-day event held in March to promote our culture and way of life. Held in the cultural village, activities range from games such as the snowshoe race, bear race, traditional bimbajou, tent-setting and archery to traditional cooking and the Wellness Journey, and to ceremonies like the first-snowshoe ceremony and the walking-out ceremony. There is story-telling by the elders, as well as a square dance and talent show. The festival finishes with an awards night and community feast.
Held during the first weekend in June, this festival encourages people to get together and share stories about the goose hunt. It is a special occasion. Walking-out ceremonies are held, as are a number of other activities including canoe races, archery, skeet-shooting and target shooting. People display and sell their arts and crafts. The festival ends with traditional cooking for the community feast and an awards night for participants.
This summer festival focuses on cultural and recreational games: canoe races, archery, skeet shooting, target shooting, arm wrestling and portaging with sandbags or canoes, and running, swimming, ball-throwing....The festival ends with a feast, and prizes and awards for all the competitors.
Canoe Excursion Project
Week-long canoe trips for youth groups are organized not only to promote our traditional way of life and to allow the kids to experience canoing, portaging, hunting and fishing, but also to provide relief from the stress youth and parents face today. To help the participants deal with some of the issues they face, in the evenings there are group discussions about different topics ranging from culture, alcohol, drugs, suicide, school, parents....
Canoe Routes, Camps and Burial Sites
The purpose of this project is for youth, working with the elders as resource people and guides, to identify, record, photograph and document stories associated with the portages, burial sites and old camp sites along the traditional canoe routes used by the elders and their ancestors, as well as by fur-traders and missionaries. “Our objective is to maintain our elders’ and ancestors’ traditional routes, which we will use in the near future for the students’ canoe excursions. The project also creates temporary employment for our members.”
Cemetery and Burial Sites Cleaning and Maintenance
The purpose of this project is to clean and repair our former cemetery in Chibougamau, as well as two burial sites on our traditional territories, one at Chibougamau Lake, the other at Lake Gabriel. Besides brush-cutting and mowing the grass, and in the case of the burial sites, clearing a trail; fences and crosses are to be constructed the traditional way and the names of the deceased identified. We are doing this to show respect to our ancestors and to the residents of Chibougamau.
Native Awareness/Inter-Racial Day
Recognizing that off-reserve aboriginal organizations have limited access to funding, the community provides support - traditional food, volunteers, financial - to the Cree Indian Friendship Centre in Chibougamau for its three-day festival promoting Cree culture, cuisine, music and handicrafts. By bringing natives and non-natives together, this event promotes friendship and harmony between the groups.
National Aboriginal Day
The community celebrates National Aboriginal Day with a one-day music festival to which local talent and other musicians are invited. The day is filled with song, spirit, dance, a community feast and fireworks.
As part of the background studies associated with the creation of the proposed Assinica Lake National Park, the Oujé-Bougoumou First Nation, in collaboration with the Cree Regional Authority, has conducted archaeological surveys in the region. The guides and technicians were from Oujé-Bougoumou. Survey zones were chosen on the basis of information provided by the guides. The crew, then, visited the areas considered by the Oujé-Bougoumou people as having either cultural or archaeological significance. Fifteen previously unknown archaeological sites were recorded. Many were multi-component, meaning they had been occupied at different times by different people.
Cultural coordinator: Daniel Bosum
Visit our website at: Oujé-Bougoumou