The Arts

Our traditional hunting and trapping way of life required we be creative in so many different ways that artistic expression was inseparable from everyday life. The Web Exhibit / Interactive Resource Dressed as Visions contains numerous examples of how that creativity found expression in the visual arts.

Hunting success – our very survival – depended upon pleasing the spirits of the animals. To do so a hunter and his family had to observe rules that clearly stated that they were not to over-hunt and that the proceeds of the hunt were to be treated carefully. Before even going hunting, however, hunters were supposed to dress appropriately: beautifully. It was the woman's job to make the men attractive. The pressure was on to create hunting apparel that was well designed, beautifully decorated and skillfully executed.

Like their ancestors before them, contemporary Cree artists – painters, sculptors, musicians, filmmakers and writers – explore myriad techniques and styles to voice their response to the world around them. But the times have changed. Contemporary artists are the eyes and ears, the de facto conscience of their people. In bearing witness to their times, their works reflect both the light and dark in the lives of today's First Nations peoples.