Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilNuméros33EntretienInterview with Nicole O’Bomsawin....

Entretien

Interview with Nicole O’Bomsawin. Wampum and Abenaki Culture Between Past and Present

Nicole O’Bomsawin, Clémence Fort, Paz Núñez-Regueiro, Nikolaus Stolle et Leandro Varison
Traduction de Margaret Rigaud
p. 132-143
Cet article est une traduction de :
Entretien avec Nicole O’Bomsawin. Le wampum et la culture abénakise, entre passé et présent [fr]

Résumé

An anthropologist and museum curator by training, Nicole O’Bomsawin is originally from Odanak and a member of the Abenaki First Nation. Between 1986 and 2006, she was the Director of the Abenaki Museum, Quebec’s first Indigenous museum institution (est. 1965). She now teaches anthropology at the Kiuna Institution and works in partnership with the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Quebec on the implementation of new strategies to foster closer collaboration between public bodies, research institutions, and Indigenous communities. In addition, she is involved with the Kapakan Alliance, an organization that promotes working with elders and coordinates a large number of intergenerational events and gatherings. Also a storyteller, Nicole O’Bomsawin regularly takes part in storytelling festivals to introduce the oral culture of the First Nations to a wider audience. Her pioneering work at the Abenaki Museum in Odanak and her commitment to the preservation and transmission of Indigenous oral traditions and knowledge have made her a key figure of Quebec’s Indigenous museum and cultural community.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

Fig. 1. Grégoire Huret, Indigenous women in festive attire [no title]. S. J. , Le P. François Ducreux. Historiae Canadensis seu Novae Franciae libri decem, ad annum usque Christi 1656, auctore P. Francisco Creuxio... Parisiis: apud S. Cramoisy et S. Mabre-Cramoisy, 1664. Engraving, 19.8 × 14 cm. Paris, BnF, RES-LK12-890.

Fig. 1. Grégoire Huret, Indigenous women in festive attire [no title]. S. J. , Le P. François Ducreux. Historiae Canadensis seu Novae Franciae libri decem, ad annum usque Christi 1656, auctore P. Francisco Creuxio... Parisiis: apud S. Cramoisy et S. Mabre-Cramoisy, 1664. Engraving, 19.8 × 14 cm. Paris, BnF, RES-LK12-890.

Although François Ducreux became known as a chronicler of the Jesuits in New France, he never set foot on American soil. He wrote his history of Canada based on information obtained from missionaries who had worked there, such as Fathers Jean de Brébeuf, Paul Le Jeune and François-Joseph Bressani.

Q: Nicole O’Bomsawin, you spent twenty years as Director of the Odanak Abenaki Museum, a landmark in the history of Indigenous museology. Can you tell us how you came to work for this museum and to devote yourself to the preservation and transmission of Abenaki culture?

N. O’.: Museums were part of my life from very early on. My grandfather, with whom I lived as a child, was one of the instigators of the Abenaki Museum in the 1960s and as soon as the museum opened its doors, in 1962, I got a job there selling admissions tickets! I was twelve. The fee was C$0.25 for children and C$0.50 for adults. It was nothing but here I was handing out tickets and it was just wonderful to have visitors! A few years later, I was put in charge of Visitor Information and gradually I started to leave my position to tell visitors about the Abenaki and the artifacts in the museum. This is how I became a museum guide. In 1974, I left to study Anthropology in Montreal but every summer I would come home to Odanak to train the museum guides. Then I became the Museum Director’s Deputy. At the end of my studies, in 1984, the Museum was looking to hire a new Director. It was an exciting time in the museum community: the provincial museums in Quebec were being comprehensively assessed, from their institutional structure to their collections. It was in this context that I took over in 1986.

Q: The Abenaki Museum opened its doors just as the Abenaki heritage was being rediscovered, which had major implications for the Odanak community. Could you say a few words on the origins of this institution?

N. O’.: The museum project was instigated by our community elders in the 1960s. My grandfather was one of them. He was interested in our material culture — “our objects” as he called them — and its transmission. This was a time when everyone in Quebec was getting rid of anything old, even though these things were all handmade. They were beautiful, but people only wanted shiny new stuff. A lot of antique dealers were going around the villages buying valuable artifacts for next to nothing. For my grandfather, there was a danger the village could lose its material culture. Taking stock of the situation, he said: “We’ve already lost our language; if we lose all our objects, there will be nothing left of our culture to speak of.” Exactly at that moment, we came up with the idea of creating a community arts center where these artifacts could be gathered, displayed, interpreted and presented to younger generations. Today we would call this a “museum”, but we did not give it that name because there is no word for “museum” in our languages. My grandfather worked alongside other members of the community and the village priest — “our missionary”, as we used to call him. The priest was an educated man and he was immediately interested. He could see that these objects were valuable, and also that “we don’t just need to preserve objects, but also skills.” The first museum opened its doors in 1962 in a well-maintained building that had been used to house Odanak’s school until the nuns left in 1959.

We held our first exhibition in the summer of 1962. The elders asked people to bring pieces to the museum so they could be put on display for everyone to see. We got 500 artifacts, which was huge! In those days we had no concept of conservation or how to run a museum. The space was more like a cabinet of curiosities than a museum. In 1965, Rémi Dolan, our community missionary, applied for grants to help protect the exhibits. Quite a few of them were stolen between 1962 and 1965 because we did not have a suitable security system in place, beyond cordoning off the exhibits to stop people touching them. Our collection was based on private donations, so we absolutely needed to secure the exhibits behind glass or inside glass cabinets in order to stop people leaving with them. This was done in 1965, which explains why the museum is often said to have opened its doors in 1965 — what came before was more of a cabinet of curiosities.

When I took up my position as Director of the museum in 1986, I requested that its doors stay open all year round, not just in summer. I wanted tourists to have access to the museum and the local community to take ownership of it and to show the collection to as many people as possible. In those days we did not have any archives or storerooms, everything had to be set up. Some pieces were exhibited in our offices, others in warehouses or just anywhere, all piled on top of one another... Faced with the scale of the undertaking, I went back to university and did a Masters in Museum Studies, because I did not know how to run a museum: the training I had received was not sufficient.

Over the years the museum was improved and extended. In 2005–2006, we acquired a storeroom. Then we worked on an extension project which became reality ten years later. It was too expensive for our community so we had to seek the support of various Quebecois and Canadian politicians. In 2006, we achieved our goal and the museum was ready to welcome visitors on new premises. Many of the artifacts in our permanent collection originally belonged to Abenaki families who later donated them to the museum because they did not want them back. In other words, some are donations and some are on loan. The museum also holds traveling exhibitions because it is now in a position to borrow collections, which was not possible before when it did not meet the standards expected of museums. Today the museum is buzzing with activity: members of the community regularly take part in the activities and tourists also visit throughout the year. It used to be that if you invited people to Odanak, they had no idea how to get there because Indigenous communities were not on Quebec road maps. You had to direct them to the next village and say something like: “Come to Odanak, it’s next to Pierreville” because that village was on the map. We had to fight with the local authorities to get Odanak on the map. We knew that if we wanted to get people to come and visit, they needed to be able to find us. After that, the names of Indigenous communities began to feature on Quebec’s official maps. We also fought to spell Abenaki with a “k”, as opposed to a “q”: that letter does not even exist in our alphabet! These fights were tough but now you can find us on a map.

Q: We can see that although the Abenaki Museum was conceived as a place to preserve artifacts, its remit extends beyond material culture to the preservation of knowledge.

N. O’.: Yes, the museum is about much more than artifacts. In fact I would say that artifacts were just the pretext we needed at the start. There were different types of objects: some had historical value, while others pertained to everyday life or were decorative. Some of the everyday objects were bark baskets used to gather plants and elm bark baskets for collecting discarded wood. This was the first type of object brought to the museum. There were also handwoven blankets and fur throws, tools to make hay and bark baskets, knives, hooks, etc. as well as hunting gear — bags, for example — moccasins, and various other things that were no longer in use.

Later we started getting more historical artifacts, including guns and munitions dating back to the War of 1812. This war was historically significant because it was the last time the United States tried to invade Canada. Several Indigenous nations mobilized in both Ontario and Quebec: in other words, the Abenaki and the Mohawk fought to defend the Canadian border. The presence of these firearms in the community confirmed our involvement in this conflict. There were also decorative artifacts embroidered with beads and moose hair, often ornamental wall-hangings. The museum also got various plants, of course, and together they made a kind of Abenaki pharmacopeia: we explained their uses and exhibited the tools used to grind and mash them. We also had a number of non-traditional artifacts that used to be found in Abenaki homes — oil lamps, for example. It was a bit of a hodgepodge of traditional and French Canadian artifacts, usually older items that people no longer used at home.

Q: The museum was established on the premises of an old mission school. Did you get some artifacts from the mission, beyond those you received from the community?

N. O’.: Yes. The mission had a vault where a number of sacred objects were found. We have a monstrance from the time of Lavoisier, as well as sacred vases from the early French period. The vault also contained a manuscript dictionary compiled by Father Aubery, one of the first fathers to have reached the Odanak mission in the days of New France. Composed in 1715, the manuscript is written in French, Latin and Abenaki. Today, this precious and impressive document is part of the collection of the museum.

Q: You attach particular importance to oral traditions and history, to knowledge passed down from generation to generation within Abenaki families. How is this reflected in the museum?

N. O’.: In the very early days of the museum, there was no space for these things in the flow of the exhibition. When I became Director, I took the museum in a new direction to give it a soul. I organized several activities promoting the transmission of knowledge and skills. For example, we invited the community — as opposed to tourists — to gather plants so they could see how it was done and relearn this skill. I considered this to be one of the museum’s key missions. It was interesting to exhibit baskets but people also needed to understand and see how they were made. I wanted these artifacts to be placed in the historical context that had given rise to them. Originally, people made baskets to fulfill a need, but basket-weaving stopped when that need disappeared. Younger generations had no access to the history of these artifacts and we wanted to show how they were made and preserve this skill. We decided to make audiovisual recordings of language classes and demonstrations of traditional craft techniques in order to preserve and transmit our culture.

We started to make these recordings in the 1980s and others followed later. We taped elders speaking on the subjects of their choice: their childhood games, friends, personal history, etc. This allowed us to get to know them and to discover the history and habits of the community through them. We gathered many such accounts on audiotapes that are still available at the museum today. We edited montages on different subjects so visitors could listen to people speak on themes of interest to them.

Fig. 2. Francesco Giuseppe Bressani, “Novae Franciae accurata delineation” (An accurate depiction of New France), 1657. Paper, copper engraving, 51.5 × 75.5 cm. Paris, BnF, Cartes et plans, GE DD-2987 (8580 RES).

Fig. 2. Francesco Giuseppe Bressani, “Novae Franciae accurata delineation” (An accurate depiction of New France), 1657. Paper, copper engraving, 51.5 × 75.5 cm. Paris, BnF, Cartes et plans, GE DD-2987 (8580 RES).

This map, the only one of its type in existence, shows the Jesuit missions established in the French colonies of Canada and Louisiana in the mid-17th century. Two elaborate vignettes illustrate both the success and failure of missionary activities in the region; while the image on the left depicts Christianized Natives in the posture of prayer, the one on the right recalls the martyrdom of eight Jesuit missionaries at the hands of the Iroquois.

We also gathered a number of life stories, notably those of hunting guides. Abenaki often worked in this capacity for wealthy Americans and Canadians travelling to Quebec to hunt. These expeditions were common in the 20th century, and the Abenaki, Atikamekw and Huron-Wendat would get jobs as hunting or fishing guides. We gathered their accounts of their experiences. Of course different people said different things and this provoked heated exchanges between the participants. We’d question them separately then all together. We also put on exhibitions showing the artifacts that the guides would use while playing audiotapes of their accounts.

The point of this work was to transmit and explain their recent past and more remote history to the people of Odanak, in order to help them to understand how their community took shape and evolved from its origins to the present. This desire also led us to research the genealogy of Abenaki families using missionary sources. A lot of work went into these projects but ultimately they proved very satisfying, because they helped the community to take ownership of the museum.

We are still gathering first-person accounts today. The museum teaches young people how to interview and film their elders. Filming their elders teaches them a lot. They have a biannual publication in which they write what they learned from their interviewees and what aspects of these meetings they enjoyed the most. We also keep these documents at the museum.

Q: The history of the Odanak community is closely connected to the history of the missions. Can you tell us about the history of the Abenaki and their relationship with the Catholic missions of New France?

N. O’.: When the missionaries arrived in New France, Abenaki settlements were located in the English colonies as far down as the Boston area. A few French missions were established among the Abenaki. I wouldn’t say that they converted. What I would say, however, is that they accepted the missionaries in order to trade with the French and defend themselves against the English and the Iroquois who wanted to drive them away from the coast. In those days, you had to be a baptized Christian to trade with the French. We thought that trading with the French would allow us to make friends with them and buy the guns we needed to fend off the English and Iroquois.

This was the initial reason for the conversion of the Abenaki. Several missions were established in areas of the Maine and the East Coast that are now in the United States. In the 1660s and during King Philip’s war (1675–1676), the Abenaki chose to ally themselves with the French in order to stop the English from settling on their land. A number of English villages were raided by Indigenous groups seeking to defend their territory. The English responded with brutal repression and took revenge on the Abenaki villages that had remained neutral. After that, the Abenaki migrated to the north and northeast, eventually finding refuge near Quebec. We initially established ourselves in Sillery with the Algonquin and Huron-Wendat, but there were too many of us so we were sent further south, to an area across from Quebec, near Lévis and Charny. This is where the first Abenaki mission was established. Jacques Bigot, our first missionary, was followed by Joseph Aubery who spent fifty years in the mission. We were in Charny between 1684 and 1700. In those days the French were settled in an area stretching from the north bank of the St. Lawrence river to Montreal. The French were under pressure from the Iroquois further south: they had a lot of trouble settling these areas because Iroquois raids acted as a deterrent. This is why in 1700 the French, who were busy fighting the French and Indian War (1754-1760) against the Iroquois, asked the Abenaki to leave Charny and settle along the banks of the St. Francis river. This area was familiar to the Abenaki because it was a traditional territory. In 1701, following the Great Peace of Montreal, the Kahnawake Iroquois stopped fighting the French and started to combat the English, in the United States, alongside the Huron-Wendat and the Abenaki. These groups took part in raids together from 1701.

Q: Missionary archives are a very useful source of information on Abenaki history.

N. O’.: Yes. Jesuit accounts — those of various fathers, Father Rasle and Father Bigot, for example — have shed light on our history. Today these sources are being put into perspective by others, because we have a better understanding of the period. We are reexamining our history and other sources are helping us to learn our language. Abenaki Chiefs composed dictionaries — one was Anglican and the other Catholic — too, and these works were as useful at the turn of the 20th century, as those of Aubery and Rasle. Dictionaries helped to understand the language, spread the Word of God, and teach the Abenaki language to young missionaries. They are precious records.

Q: France’s most well-known Abenaki artifact is the wampum belt of the Cathedral of Chartres. We can see that the relationship between the Abenaki and the missionaries goes back a long time. What is the relationship of the Odanak community with this object preserved in France?

N. O’.: The Chartres wampum probably left Charny in 1691 or 1697 and today we only have a small picture of it in our church, next to the statue of the Black Virgin, Our lady of the Underworld (Notre-Dame de sous-terre) that the Chartrians sent us.

When I first travelled to France in 1970, I went to visit Chartres with our Community Chief and we were given permission to touch the wampum. It was a very special moment for history-lovers like us. We had heard about the wampum belt and now we could see and touch it. At the time, we had not yet sought any expert advice on the techniques and know-how behind it, but we knew it came from our community! It was a memorable experience!

The photograph of the belt is still in our church today. Twenty years ago, a young woman from our community made a reproduction wampum. She used small glass beads and today this copy, which looks like a wampum belt without really being one, is on display at the museum.

In 2008 the Chartres wampum belt was sent to the Pointe-à-Callière Museum. We sent a busful of people of all ages from the community to see the exhibition — or the wampum belt rather. We had asked the Museum Director, Francine Lelièvre, to grant us a moment with the belt before the official opening so we could really experience it. When we got there, we sung to the sound of drums and held a short ceremony because we felt that many of the people who had travelled that day might never have a chance to see it again in France.

Fig. 3. Aerial view of the Abenaki Museum installed in the building of the old religious school of Odanak, built in 1902/

Fig. 3. Aerial view of the Abenaki Museum installed in the building of the old religious school of Odanak, built in 1902/

© André Gill.

Fig. 4. View of the permanent exhibition at the Wôbanaki Museum: People of the rising sun, a section evoking the cultural and spiritual universe of the Abenaki.

Fig. 4. View of the permanent exhibition at the Wôbanaki Museum: People of the rising sun, a section evoking the cultural and spiritual universe of the Abenaki.

© TAQ-Audet Photo.

Fig. 5. Vue of the Museum entrance hall with a map showing the traditional territories of Indigenous Nations.

Fig. 5. Vue of the Museum entrance hall with a map showing the traditional territories of Indigenous Nations.

© François Pilon.

Fig. 6. Wampum belt. Abenaki, St. Francis (Odanak, Quebec), 1699. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, hide, porcupine quills, vegetable fibres, length 198.5 cm.

Fig. 6. Wampum belt. Abenaki, St. Francis (Odanak, Quebec), 1699. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, hide, porcupine quills, vegetable fibres, length 198.5 cm.

This belt, sent by the Abenaki to St. Francis in 1699, is made of nearly eleven thousand beads, and bears a Latin inscription MATRI VIRGINI ABENAQUÆI˙ D˙D˙ (“Gift of the Abenaki to the Virgin Mother”).

Chartres, Trésor de la Cathédrale © Région Centre-Val de Loire, Inventaire général, Thierry Cantalupo.

The Chartres wampum belt is inscribed with a Latin inscription that was probably dictated by the missionaries, because they were Chartrians. It reflects the alliance between the Abenaki and the Virgin. The Virgin is a major figure for us as for many other nations because she is the bearer of life: mothers and grandmothers are primordial characters for us, hence our devotion to Saint Anne. We adopted them because we thought the Christian religion lacked women! Mary became our “Mother-Goddess” but the missionaries told us she was just a woman. We didn’t really understand what they meant by “just a woman”. For us, what mattered was to form an alliance with Mary and get her protection. The Chartres wampum belt isn’t just something we made and gave away as a present: we were asking for Mary’s protection through this artifact. We had been told that Our Lady of Chartres was a huge, magnificent Cathedral and we did not want to fall short, we wanted our gift to be worthy of her glory.

Q: Could you tell us about wampum?

N. O’.: First of all, wampum is a shell. The word didn’t refer to a belt initially, but to a shell bead. Wampum can be made of strings of beads, they don’t have to be woven together. When we talk about woven wampum belts, we speak of artifacts that were created to pass agreements and establish alliances with other nations.

There are no wampum belts left in our community today. We have not preserved any, which is odd because different communities would exchange them. Alliances were not only military, but also commercial and familial. Pictograms, as opposed to a Latin inscription, would often express the narrative associated with a wampum belt.

The size and thousands of beads of the Chartres wampum belt suggest it must have taken a long time to make. It was also important to try to use beads of the same caliber. We Abenaki were very good at making shell beads because we lived on the coast and were used to working with them. We lavished particular care and attention on this particular wampum belt, because through this object we were asking for the Virgin’s protection against the English at a time of conflict when they would pursue us into our villages. In the Abenaki community, wampum belts were kept by women. The men could not do this because they had to fight. We often do not know who made these belts. We’ve tended to think they were made by men, because they were male offerings to other males. However, it is possible to think that as the years passed women also started making them: women would thresh ash trees and take over all those male tasks when the men were away. We can tell that some of the longer wampum belts have been made by several people because of differences in the weaving: you have to know about weaving techniques to see this, because it is not obvious. So the women also made wampum belts and helped men perform this task. We need to celebrate the women who worked so hard in the shadows to make them!

In those days, wampum belts also had a trade value: they were equivalent to the pelts that were sold to the French and the English. Preparing the pelts was a strictly female task. It was the women who scraped them and prepared them. The more well-prepared a pelt, the higher the price it fetched. I regret that history only remembers work done by men, as opposed to the important work of women. Women worked too but we still do not draw enough attention to this today.

Nowadays the value of wampum is mostly symbolical for the Abenaki nation because we have not preserved any belts. We know, for example, that we exchanged wampum belts with the Atikamekw but there is no trace of them. Today, we know how to make reproduction wampum belts, and although these are useful to teach our history and decode the meaning of our symbols, they do not have the same value. The Algonquin still have Wampum Keepers who know how to read them: they can tell you when they were made just by reading them. Our community would love to be able to trace the wampum belts we exchanged with the Haudenosaunee and Atikamekw in order to make copies and fill some of the gaps in our history

Q: What is your relationship with the Chartres wampum? You said that wampum belts had symbolic value, but how do you think of them as objects: are they religious artifacts? Cultural heritage artifacts? How would you describe them?

N. O’.: I would say both. The Chartres wampum belt is part of our heritage, but for many of us it also remains a religious artifact connecting us to the Virgin — as opposed to the missionaries and France. It is good that it exists and that it is being preserved because it is the only wampum belt that can connect us to our past. Its inscription was probably dictated by the missionaries, to whom we were very close at the time. Today, there are new currents of thought and some would say that the Church took us over. But what I say is that it wasn’t like that! The missionaries lived among us, just like us. Some Abenaki converted but not all. At first we offered women to the missionaries and it took us a while to understand why they were not interested. The missionaries kept talking about mysteries but we wanted answers! The Abenaki had cordial relations with the missionaries from the moment they arrived. The Church is still an important part of the Odanak community. In fact we have two churches — one is Catholic and the other Anglican — and many members of the community still practice today. These churches are precious to us because they are part of our history and heritage.

This debate was rekindled when the bodies of children were discovered in residential schools. Some churches were burned down after that, but we do not wish to burn our church. We are very attached to it: it is also a place where we can speak of our history and the links between our vision of spirituality and the Christian religion. We are in a position to draw parallels between the two. At least, this is how I see things and perhaps others see them differently. Personally, I was brought up in this tradition. Sometimes I speak with other Indigenous people and they disagree, but they are not Abenaki. Every nation is different. History does not give much space for nuance, but we Abenaki love nuance!

Our thanks go to Vicky Desfossés-Bégin, projects coordinator and communications at the Abenaki Museum in Odanak, for her help.

Haut de page

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Grégoire Huret, Indigenous women in festive attire [no title]. S. J. , Le P. François Ducreux. Historiae Canadensis seu Novae Franciae libri decem, ad annum usque Christi 1656, auctore P. Francisco Creuxio... Parisiis: apud S. Cramoisy et S. Mabre-Cramoisy, 1664. Engraving, 19.8 × 14 cm. Paris, BnF, RES-LK12-890.
Crédits Although François Ducreux became known as a chronicler of the Jesuits in New France, he never set foot on American soil. He wrote his history of Canada based on information obtained from missionaries who had worked there, such as Fathers Jean de Brébeuf, Paul Le Jeune and François-Joseph Bressani.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6269/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,4M
Titre Fig. 2. Francesco Giuseppe Bressani, “Novae Franciae accurata delineation” (An accurate depiction of New France), 1657. Paper, copper engraving, 51.5 × 75.5 cm. Paris, BnF, Cartes et plans, GE DD-2987 (8580 RES).
Légende This map, the only one of its type in existence, shows the Jesuit missions established in the French colonies of Canada and Louisiana in the mid-17th century. Two elaborate vignettes illustrate both the success and failure of missionary activities in the region; while the image on the left depicts Christianized Natives in the posture of prayer, the one on the right recalls the martyrdom of eight Jesuit missionaries at the hands of the Iroquois.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6269/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,4M
Titre Fig. 3. Aerial view of the Abenaki Museum installed in the building of the old religious school of Odanak, built in 1902/
Crédits © André Gill.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6269/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,5M
Titre Fig. 4. View of the permanent exhibition at the Wôbanaki Museum: People of the rising sun, a section evoking the cultural and spiritual universe of the Abenaki.
Crédits © TAQ-Audet Photo.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6269/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 916k
Titre Fig. 5. Vue of the Museum entrance hall with a map showing the traditional territories of Indigenous Nations.
Crédits © François Pilon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6269/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 604k
Titre Fig. 6. Wampum belt. Abenaki, St. Francis (Odanak, Quebec), 1699. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, hide, porcupine quills, vegetable fibres, length 198.5 cm.
Légende This belt, sent by the Abenaki to St. Francis in 1699, is made of nearly eleven thousand beads, and bears a Latin inscription MATRI VIRGINI ABENAQUÆI˙ D˙D˙ (“Gift of the Abenaki to the Virgin Mother”).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6269/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 323k
Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Nicole O’Bomsawin, Clémence Fort, Paz Núñez-Regueiro, Nikolaus Stolle et Leandro Varison, « Interview with Nicole O’Bomsawin. Wampum and Abenaki Culture Between Past and Present »Gradhiva, 33 | 2022, 132-143.

Référence électronique

Nicole O’Bomsawin, Clémence Fort, Paz Núñez-Regueiro, Nikolaus Stolle et Leandro Varison, « Interview with Nicole O’Bomsawin. Wampum and Abenaki Culture Between Past and Present »Gradhiva [En ligne], 33 | 2022, mis en ligne le 15 juin 2022, consulté le 26 juin 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/6269 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/gradhiva.6269

Haut de page

Auteurs

Nicole O’Bomsawin

An anthropologist and museum curator by training, Nicole O’Bomsawin is originally from Odanak and a member of the Abenaki First Nation. Between 1986 and 2006, she was the Director of the Abenaki Museum, Quebec’s first Indigenous museum institution (est. 1965). She now teaches anthropology at the Kiuna Institution and works in partnership with the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Quebec on the implementation of new strategies to foster closer collaboration between public bodies, research institutions, and Indigenous communities. In addition, she is involved with the Kapakan Alliance, an organization that promotes working with elders and coordinates a large number of intergenerational events and gatherings. Also a storyteller, Nicole O’Bomsawin regularly takes part in storytelling festivals to introduce the oral culture of the First Nations to a wider audience. Her pioneering work at the Abenaki Museum in Odanak and her commitment to the preservation and transmission of Indigenous oral traditions and knowledge have made her a key figure of Quebec’s Indigenous museum and cultural community.

Clémence Fort

Paz Núñez-Regueiro

Articles du même auteur

Nikolaus Stolle

Articles du même auteur

Leandro Varison

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

© musée du quai Branly

Haut de page
  • Logo Musée du quai Branly
  • OpenEdition Journals
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search