About us...

Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute is a museum, archive, library and a teaching centre.

ACCI flows from the knowledge that Cree culture must be captured, maintained, shared, celebrated, and practiced or it will wither and die. Cree Elders have spoken of the need for a central place for the protection of the way, and have developed a vision for Aanischaaukamikw over several decades.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Moose Break at the Museum

During the week of October 6 ACCI was closed to the public for Moose Break, but that doesn’t mean that museum-y things don’t happen. 

So, what really happens to a museum when it’s closed for a week?  

Well, sadly none of our artifacts come to life, but the Collections Staff sure do because being closed for such a long time means we can clean artifacts, move cases, and spruce up the exhibit for our visitors!

The ACCI Collection Staff welcomed the arrival of our new Conservator, Fiona Hernandez by asking her if we could clean our two largest artifacts.   But why clean artifacts that no one every touches you might ask, well because even just sitting there they get dirty!
Using soft brushes and special vacuums so we didn’t damage the wood, canvas and paint Fiona and I carefully removed dirt and debris from the canvas canoe on loan to us from the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, before turning our attention to ACCI’s Odeyak. 


General cleaning in the gallery is also important to ensure that pests, especially bugs, don’t make their homes in and around the artifacts.  This means vacuuming every small space, cleaning cases and dusting all places both high, low, and in the middle.

To take a break from all of our cleaning, Staff were also able to move cases and objects to new locations.  Focusing on another large object in our display the Ceremonial Hide was removed from its case and set away in order to let the hide and natural dies rest in the dark. Museum staff do this to ensure that the materials are not exposed to damaging light for long periods of time which can cause pigments to fade.

Finally, with many hands and lots of heavy lifting the case was taken apart and will soon be moved to a new, surprise location!  So please stay tuned for its unveiling. 

A big thanks to all of our staff who helped during the week, and we hope everyone enjoyed their Moose Break!

-Written by Sharon Vance - Registrar

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cree Nation Government Donation to the ACCI Archives

On September 8, 2014 ACCI received 28 boxes of books, reports, AV material, and photos from the Cree Nation Government office in Nemaska.

The books and annual reports from Cree entities will be added to the reference section and library, while the photos and hand-made books will be placed in the archives.

Aanischaaukamikw would like to thank the Cree Nation Government for their continued support of the ACCI library and archives.

Dr. Harvey Feit donates Hunters’ Diaries to ACCI

Anthropologist Dr. Harvey Feit is a name known well in Eeyou Istchee.  He was involved with the James Bay Northern Québec Agreement negotiations and has been doing field work in Waswanipi since the 1960s.

This August, Dr. Feit and his wife Lise came to visit us in Oujé-Bougoumou, and made a series of donations, including 31 Hunters’ Diaries, to the ACCI archives.  These diaries hold an important place in Eeyou Istchee history as they were used as evidence during the JBNQA hearings in the 1970s.  At the moment, three of the diaries are on display in our exhibit Reclaiming the Ways of Our Ancestors. In addition to the diaries, Dr. Feit has donated many photographs and material that will be open for future research.

Here is a link of an actual diary display at the museum:

To read about Dr. Feit’s last donation, see our post from 2013:

To learn more about the JBNQA check out this video:

Friday, August 29, 2014

The archival material of Dr. Cath Oberholtzer

ACCI Archives is happy to announce the acquisition of the archival material of Dr. Cath Oberholtzer.  Dr. Oberholtzer received her BA in Archaeology (1981) and her MA in Art and Archaeology (1986) at Trent University.  She received her Ph.D. (1995) in Anthropology at McMaster University under the supervision of Richard Preston with her thesis entitled Together we survive: East Cree Material Culture.  Her major research undertakings culminated in the production of Our Grandmothers’ Voices: East Cree material culture in museums (2001), the posthumously published Dream Catchers: Legend, Lore, and Artifacts (2012), and several chapters in other collaborative works.  Dr. Oberholtzer died unexpectedly on August 18, 2012 in Toronto at the age of 72 shortly after visiting ACCI for its Grand Opening. 

This August, ACCI staff Raegan Swanson and Jordan Graham went to the Oberholtzer family home to retrieve materials from Dr. Oberholtzer library and work space to bring to ACCI.  The material will be divided between the library and archives and open to researchers in the near future.  

ACCI would like to thank Ron Oberholtzer and the entire Oberholtzer family for this amazing donation and Candace Oberholtzer for her help in coordinating the effort to collect the material

Thursday, July 24, 2014

ACCI welcomes our new summer student Jordan Graham

I am truly thrilled to begin my Museum Technician position at Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute.  As I am still in my first week here, everywhere I turn there is something new- an artefact, a painting, a component of the architecture- that makes me appreciate, again, everything that ACCI represents, and all that the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee has accomplished, both in modern times, and times long past.

Before working here I have been involved in the field of Canadian Heritage through my positions as a Cultural Resource Management Archaeologist in Southern Ontario, and as the Collections Manager for The Battle Harbour Historic Trust in Labrador.  In 2012, I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from McGill University, and I am currently in the process of completing a Master’s degree in Archaeology at The University of Oxford. 

To be a part of this project is an honour, and I very much look forward to working with the collections, the museum staff, and the wider community of Oujé-Bougoumou over the course of this summer.

ACCI participates at the Association of Canadian Archivists Annual Conference

Every year the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) holds a fantastic conference somewhere in Canada.  This year the conference theme was Archivatopia and it was held in Victoria, at the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel.

I have been a member of ACA since I was a grad student and I have love participating in conferences – my first was in Toronto in 2009 where I was on the host committee and a poster presenter.  This year I was happy to be able to bring Lisa Petawabano along to the conference to present on one of ACCI’s projects.

Before the conference officially started, Lisa and I participated in the Aboriginal Special Interest Section annual meeting where we discussed activities of the group, and possible changes to the Aboriginal Archives Guide.  The guide was published in 2007 and a great deal has changed in the Aboriginal Archives world since then.  Possible changes discussed include adding a section about the TRC documents and oral testimony statement gathering that has been done across Canada, discussing policy and procedures and research policies.

To celebrate the start of the conference we were invited to an opening gala at BC Government House.  The view was exceptional and so was the company.  It was great to meet with archivists from all over the world and to catch up with friends.

Thursday was the first day of the conference.  In the morning we listened to two presentations from B.C, including one from our former YCW student Nailisa Tanner.

Our session title was Making and Evaluating Community Connections: Tools and Techniques. Our paper presentation was called Eeyou Istchee Network – Working Towards our Ideal Community Network.  We discussed our MAP funded project to connect all the community museum and archive collections with MINISIS (collections database system) and what steps had already been taken, including trips to each of the communities and conservation workshops.  Lisa and I spoke for 20 minutes, with our presentation slides containing exclusively pictures from ACCI and around Eeyou Istchee.  Our fellow panellist, Sarah Janes, from the Thunder Bay Archives spoke about her outreach projects and stats that she has been working on.  It was a great panel and we had about 50 people in our audience.  We were asked some great questions and we enjoyed the chance getting to share our experience with fellow archivists.

On Saturday I presented again with Canadian and American archivists. The session title was Looking Toward the Future: Aboriginal Archives in Canada and the United States and it was organised by Jennifer O’Neal from the University of Oregon.  Also on the panel was Jonathan Pringle from Northern Arizona University, Lim Lawson from the University of British Columbia Xwi7xwa Library, Sherry Lawson from Chippewas of Rama First Nation and Patricia Kennedy formally of Library and Archives Canada. The panel discussed the Aboriginal Archives Guide published by that ACA and the Protocols for Native American Materials that was published in the USA in 2006.  Standing up and speaking beside such an impressive crowd was a bit intimidating, and I was quite nervous.  We each presented on different topics, some of us giving our experiences using or creating guides, while others discussed the state of their community archives.  Each person had a unique view of the Guide and Protocols and it was great to hear about what other members of the aboriginal archival community were working on.  One of the greatest points came from Kim Lawson when she was describing the Aboriginal Archives Guide the night before the conference.  She spoke of how the Aboriginal Archive Guide should act like a bridge, connecting aboriginal communities to the archive community.  Aboriginal communities may choose to take some of the ideas in the guidebook, but not everything will work for each community.  Being flexible is very important, notably when working with communities who all have different mandates and resources.

The conference finished on a great note – the closing dinner and dance gala.  We had a great time talking (and dancing) with the people that we had met during the week.  The conference may be over but the work has just started.  Taking the ideas that were shared and discussed by our archival colleagues, continuing to improve our professional learning and updating resources for the next year will be more than enough to keep me busy over the next year.

For other conference posts about Aboriginal Archives please check out:

Aanischaaukamikw Library News

ACCI’s Library and Archives is happy to report that our new reference section is now open in the Library.  Our reference section holds Cree magazines, newsletters from different communities, annual reports from Cree entities and environmental reports. 

We are happy to help you with your research questions and remember that the library is open Tuesday to Saturday during the summer (8:30-12 and 13-16:30).