Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute
Our research philosophy: ‘Nothing about us, without us’
For museums outside of Eeyou Istchee , we ask that we are consulted and treated as partners for any interpretative work on collections from our region. Museums need to understand that we are experts on all aspects of our culture.
We ask that museums, archives and heritage repositories do not reproduce or use photographs of our people without contemporary, informed consent from individuals or their descendants (especially photographs taken before the current digital / internet age). We are not objects for outsiders to interpret. The right to self-representation is guaranteed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The OCAP® principles (ownership, control, access and possession), developed by the First Nations Information Governance Centre in 2011, guide how information about First Nations should be used, disseminated, protected and collected. These standards are referred to in the Tri-Council Policy Statement for Ethical Research Involving Humans, which is used by academic funding agencies within Canada. We ask that museums everywhere adhere to the OCAP principles and apply these to historic collections and documentation.
Our research focus centers on the interests and needs of Eeyou community members. With that in mind, our research and resources give priority to research instigated by Eeyou community members.
For external researchers, we are developing a Research Policy which will ensure that research is done with approval of Eeyou community members, and that external research is of interest to, and benefits the communities. Our General Statement of Research Principles guides our research approval process while our comprehensive policy is being developed. Our goal is for all external research to be undertaken in a good way, with decolonising principles in mind.
This post, like all work done at Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute (ACCI), is representative of our ability to self-represent, indicates our survival, and ultimately highlights community resistance to settler colonialism and assimilation. Self-curation, within the framework of contemporary museological practice, through the use of museum exhibits as complex sites of resistance recalls the words of Metis artist / scholar David Garneau:
The primary sites of Indigenous resistance, then, are not the rare open battles between the colonized and the dominant but the every day active refusals of complete engagement with agents of assimilation. This includes speaking in one’s own way, refusing translation and full explanations, creating trade goods that imitate core culture without violating it, and refusing to be a Native informant .
The overall impact of ACCI is meant to demonstrate Eeyou, “…maintenance of culture, treaty, history, and self within the historical and ongoing context of settlement…Indigenous people did not lay down and die; they persist, and in so doing, they defy all expectations – working resolutely to assert their nationhood and their sovereignty against a settler political formation that would have them disappear or integrate or assimilate.”  Continue reading