Shashish|Anutshish : a virtual museum to explore past and present First Nations culture.


Uashat mak Mani-Utenam

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Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Community Heritage

The Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Community Heritage Collection (Patrimoine communautaire) is an exhibit featuring over 300 items chosen by the Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Innu community. Chosen because of their importance in Innu life and culture , these items are displayed with the use of photographs and/or information cards prepared by members of the community.

Most of the photographs are of people or objects, but some represent events, locations, memories, and Innu language or values. This community heritage is composed of material culture such as people, documents, clothing, and other items related to daily life, as well as of non-material elements such as skills, legends, and memories.

By actively participating in taking inventory, the Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Innus defined their cultural heritage themselves: they drew up a list of items which constitute their heritage and are valuable to them, both collectively and individually. A participatory inventory method was experimented, involving meetings, workshops, exhibitions, and consultations and whereby it was always possible to change the content of the inventory. This active research method involved the participation of members of the community and specialists from outside the community who, together, shared their knowledge and skills, with the community retaining control of the process and final decisions.

The inventory project, which began in 2004 under Élise Dubuc, was a long process, taking many years and involving a number of people at various project stages. Teams contacted people from the community who could share key elements pertaining to their collective cultural identity. They would arrange a meeting, record their testimonies, take photographs of the objects in question, attribute a number to each object, and record the information on a documentary card.

For this collection alone, 830 items were inventoried in this manner. The documentary cards and photographs were filed according to their attributed number, placed in plastic sleeves, and then in a ring binder; ten such binders were created.

The complete collection, in similar binder form, was offered to the Uashat mak Mani-Utenam community in November, 2007.

Distribution rights for over 300 items were released. They are displayed as examples of a project which other communities could also undertake.

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