In those times of great upheavals where the First Nations of the world claim their rights and the acknowledgment of their specificity, when the Cree political approach is rooted in the uniqueness of his identity, when the new type of Cree governance offers numerous advantages, in those times when creativity is considered as a key strategic advantage of any successful collectivity, CNACA, as the association in charge of this powerful asset, can only play a growing role of leadership within its Nation and more largely.
The Cultural Festival project is designed to lay the foundation for a stronger leadership in the artistic and crafts sector. It will also network key players in the domains of culture, tourism and traditional Cree living. It will fill the gap between generations and knowledge as well by reuniting elders and youth. Bringing together all stakeholders concerned with the expression of the Cree’s culture through art and crafts, traditional or contemporary, it will benefit the whole Nation. It will necessarily generate pride and a strong sense of identity, key aspects of a healthy society. This project aims to gather, promote and empower one of the most strategic economical and social assets of the Cree community: its unique and highly creative culture.
Arts and crafts are the beating heart of a community’s cultural identity. Arts and crafts are the expression of the culture through object’s symbols, values, meaning and direction. They evolve and grow, as remembrance of the past or windows on the future, but these rich means of expression are always threatened by decline, and First Nations are the most aware of these challenges.
In a globalized world where the multiculturalism and the aggressive promotion of a dominant culture threaten the diversity, it is crucial for the Cree Nation to establish ways to preserve its own cultural identity and its ways to express it, so it can continue to shine and evolve. CNACA has been working thoroughly on this aspect since its creation. In a study conducted for the Quebec Arts and Literature Council (Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec, CALQ), CNACA found a great need amongst artists to meet other artists to network and to learn about their legal rights as they pertain to copyrights, publishing rights, intellectual property rights, royalties, etc. In an effort to serve its members and respond to their needs, CNACA is organizing the Cree Cultural Festival, which will take place on March 15, 16 & 17 in the two locations of the Université du Québec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) campus and the Forestel hotel in Val d’Or.
The festival would be the first of a series of many similar festivals, all aiming to support, in a more extensive way and in a more visible way, these efforts to protect, promote and sustain the Cree’s art, crafts, symbols, meaning, traditions and skills and to encourage traditional and contemporary means of expression through education on legal rights, traditional skills and communications.
2013 will be the first edition, and it is an opportunity for CNACA to build a template for the next editions, to build partnerships and create relationships, etc.
Imagine March 2013
For three days, CNACA’S members, institutional and regional actors and the Cree community come together around a single issue: a sustainable arts, crafts and cultural economy in Eeyou Istchee.
Three days when participants are invited to discover the wonderful achievements of the Cree’s great creativity and meet its artists and artisans in an arts symposium.
Three days when participants are challenged through conferences and workshops to discuss about the legal issues they face, learn about their rights as creators and producers from experts and explore ways to improve their work through communications and professional development.
Three days spent learning about each other, enriching everyone’s practice, reinforcing the CNACA’s capacity to support and last but not the least, having a lot of fun.
This succeeding event, keen at bringing together community’s political, cultural and organizational actors, would finally lead the way to a greater gathering of Nations and countries, in years to come.
Festival activities are divided in four parts: workshops and training sessions, an Arts Symposium, the Eeyou Itschee Achievement Awards and CNACA’s general assembly.
Three types of workshops will be held. The first type relates to the topics of creators’ and producers’ rights. CNACA has observed that there is much demand on legal knowledge from the artistic community in Eeyou Itschee, and there is nothing in place to address these needs. Artists are not informed of how the law protects their intellectual property, and what actions they can take should their copyrights be infringed. There is also a need for more information on contracting with artists’ agents, royalty fees, publishing rights, etc. Legal experts have already been identified and will give conferences and distribute pamphlets on issues of interest to artists. Workshops on traditional skills will also be offered for youth to reconnect with traditional lifestyle and stimulate their interest in traditional Cree culture. Finally, because of the often expressed need for support in marketing, some media & communications skills workshops will also be provided for artists to learn more about how to promote themselves.
About thirty artists from across Eeyou Itschee will participate in the Arts Symposium. They will promote their work in a tradeshow. This will be an ideal opportunity to build commercial linkages with the Val d’Or business community. There will also be demonstrations of traditional crafts making during the fair, for the enjoyment and education of festival participants. Artists need opportunities to promote themselves and sell their work.
Eeyou Itschee Achievement Awards
CNACA has the mandate to promote Cree artists and uses awards nights as ways to valorize their work. This is the second awards night organized by CNACA, and it is a privileged occasion to recognize artists’ contribution to the nation.
CNACA’s general assembly
CNACA will take advantage of having its membership gathered in Val d’Or to hold a general assembly and hold the elections of Board of Directors. On March 15th, all participants will be given the opportunity to become CNACA members and participate in the general assembly.
- Fill the need for a meaningful event at the regional level that will reunite the artistic and cultural economy of Eeyou Itched to create an event where Crees will share, think and network around the issue of sustainable arts, crafts and cultural economy amongst themselves and with non Cree business partners. To reach this, we believe the event must contain four kinds of activities: 1) artistic and crafts fair, 2) training, informative and interactive platform (conference and workshops), 3) awards night and 4) a festive and entertaining gathering.
- Gather and network interested stakeholders concerned with the expressions of the Cree culture. Participants will be able to network, get to know each other, exchange knowledge and experience, transmit their skills to the younger generation, all this in an entertaining two days program. This event will also allow to some artists and artisans to step out of their isolation, and strengthened their capacities.
- Empower and educate participants through various conferences, workshops and training sessions. The event will be a unique event where we will share global and practical issues as well as exchanging innovative solutions to our common problems. The workshops would focus on legal rights; practical workshops would also teach traditional skills. The education aspect of the event should necessarily reinforce the sense of the community within the Cree artists and artisans and the rest of the Nation.
- Enhance the promotion of the Cree creativity, skills and knowledge, and by the same extent, CNACA’s mission and actions, within the Cree community inside and outside of Eeyou Itschee, as well as with the non Cree community of Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The community and the public inside and outside Eeyou Istchee will come to know the talent of our artists and power of our culture.
The audience targeted by the activities are firstly the CNACA’S members and prospective members. It is fundamental that these artists and artisans be given to gather, network and exchange good practices. It would be highly important also that they have access to training activities on their legal rights, so that their creation can be duly protected. Second, regional and institutional entities would be invited to participate. CNACA’s mission and action have to be known by its local actors and this event would be exceptional in achieving this goal. Finally, the Eeyou Itschee and Abitibi-Témiscamingue public will be invited with a specific focus on the younger generation, such as Cree students studying at the UQAT campus in Val d’Or will be invited to visit and exchange on the issue. The support from partners will be requested to help spread the word.