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Cree Artists Database

List of registered artists and artisans from Eeyou Istchee and surrounding areas.

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Harold Bosum

Traditional & Contemporary:

Location: Ouje-Bougoumou


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Short description of your art.

I am from Ouje-Bougoumou, Quebec. When I started working at the Cree Culture Institute I was inspired by all these amazing tamarack decoys that were displayed at the museum and I was really eager to learn how to make them. One day while we were traveling to our trapline I told my wife, someone should start making tamarack decoys cause we have so many tamarack trees in the region. Her reply was, 'why don't you start it?' and that's how it all started. I have been making tamarack decoys for quite some years now, maybe around 5. My wife helps me gather the material. I also was inspired by the canoe that's displayed at the museum that is made out of canvas. I said to myself, 'I'm sure our ancestors made birchbark canoes but the teaching was never transferred to us'. I started studying how a birchbark canoe is made, and to my finding, I now make miniature birchbark canoes using all-natural materials like cedar, spruce roots, and birch bark. I love what I do, and I want to share our ways of life as a Cree person.

Where did you learn your art?

Self-taught and asking the elders, the masters of tamarack decoy making, how they are made. I talked to artists like Alfred Coon-come, Roderick Blackned, and Harvey Blackned. I am so happy they were able to share their knowledge about how they are made.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

My inspiration comes from my kids and my future grandkids, we have one granddaughter. I always say to myself, 'one day my kids/grandchildren will ask how these were made and how the Crees made them'. I figured, I should teach myself how they are made so when that time comes when they start asking me questions I will have some knowledge.

Have you received any formal training?

Mainly through talking with the elders, the masters of tamarack decoy makers. I did attend one workshop they had a few years back in Waswanipi on how to make miniature birch bark canoes.

What other art forms do you practice?

I play guitar and sing Christian music.

Have you ever received any awards or special recognition?

I attended the Northern Lights Conference in Ottawa back in 2017. This was organized by the Inuits and I was the first Cree to attend as a Cree artist showcasing my art "Tamarack Decoy making" A conference that's been running for 30 years or more. I had fun. My tamarack decoys have also have been used as an award and guest speaker gifts within the Cree Nation.

Do you sell your work? If so, How?

I sell my work by displaying them on FaceBook, Instagram and by selling it to organizations within the Cree Nation. I sell my Crafts to nearby towns as well, I guess they heard I make tamarack decoys and birch bark canoes.

Has your art work ever been mentioned in any media?

Probably! I just can't remember where.

Please provide any information on your buyers.

Organizations within the Cree Nation; individuals; nearby towns of Chibougamau, Chapais, Val-d'Or, and Georgeville; a Quebec Studio; a gallery in Montreal; and Stornaway.