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Les Cahiers du CIÉRA (ici en français)
Founded in the spring of 2008, Les Cahiers du CIÉRA stems from an initiative of student-researchers affiliated with the Center for Indigenous Studies and Research (CIÉRA), which brings together members from Quebec ( Laval University, University of Montreal, University of Quebec in Montreal, University of Quebec in Outaouais and University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue). Through biannual publications, the centre offers the university community and the general public an opportunity to learn about the debates held during its annual colloquium, contemporary issues and creations, ideas and initiatives from Aboriginal peoples. Les Cahiers du CIÉRA has a clear desire to promote Indigenous and student voices. Since their inception, these publications have addressed a multitude of themes that touch on the following areas of research: culture and history; living conditions and environment; legal status and political claims; education and language; health and healing.
The April 2023 Les Cahiers du CIÉRA is a special edition on United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Possible Interpretations (Volume 1)
This issue was produced under the editorial supervision of Benoit Éthier, Marjolaine Étienne, Doris Farget, Émilie Fortin-Lefebvre, Justine Gagnon, Karine Gentelet, Martin Hébert, Nicolas Houde, Laurent Jérôme, Gabriel Marcotte, Geneviève Motard, Martin Papillon, Alexane Picard, Thierry Rodon and Jean-Philippe Uzel.
Ace’s collaborative work waawiindmawaa – promise (to promise something to somebody) that was produced for wāwīndamaw – promise: Indigenous Art and Colonial Treaties in Canada, Nordamerika Native Museum (NONAM), Zurich, Switzerland (April 8, 2022 to January 8, 2023) was selected for the publication’s cover.
The Canada/Switzerland UNDRIP and TRC Collaborative Projects
In 2018 and 2022, Ace undertook two complex projects culminating in two collaborative works calling for collective healing as a result of the impact of residential schools and the recognition of Indigenous rights, as stated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action (TRC) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The collaborative workshops were held at the University of Windsor (Windsor, Ontario); North American Native Museum (Zurich, Switzerland) and Musée d’ethnographie de Geneve (Geneva, Switzerland).
The work waawiindmawaa – promise (to promise something to somebody) (2022) consists of three floor pottery vessels containing 46 beaded circular medallions affixed to vellum scrolls. The vessels rest on top of three mounds of sand mixed with cedar, sage and tobacco. Evenly spaced apart, each vessel is positioned directly below and in dialogue with the wall mounted work For as long as the sun shines, grass grows and water flows (2018), an 11.5 metre wampum belt with beaded black velvet floral decorated panels, vellum scrolls and tobacco pouches.
In Windsor, Ontario, Ace worked with 94 law students, art students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants who completed For as long as the sun shines, grass grows and water flows over a 4 day period, making 54 mixed media beaded panels with 94 handwritten calls to action scrolls mounted together in a continuous horizontal row set against a larger painted blue strip, referencing a wampum belt. For waawiindmawaa – promise (to promise something to somebody), 46 international law students, artists and general public (23 in Zurich and 23 in Geneva) hand-beaded a floral motif on a circular medallion, wrote one of the 46 UNDRIP articles in graphite on a vellum sheet that was rolled into a scroll and affixed to the medallion with tobacco. These medallions were placed inside one of the three honouring floor vessels. At the start of all workshops, each participant confirmed their participation by, first, surrendering their rights to the collaborative work by signing a witnessed document and then symbolically accepting one Canadian Dollar or Swiss Franc in exchange for the extinguishment of their rights to the works. This surrender was a wry reference to the treaty-making process in Canada.
By creating these site-specific collaborative works, Ace and the participants aim to draw our attention to the need for reconciliation and honouring of Indigenous domestic and international rights and treaty rights. When read together, the two works are a contemporary visual and mnemonic waawiindmawaa – promise. In completing these works, the participants fulfilled TRC Call to Action #83, in particular “for Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process”.
Download a copy of Les Cahiers du CIÉRA United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Possible Interpretations (Volume 1) (here).
CBC: First Nations chiefs to debate Trudeau government’s draft UNDRIP action plan
United Nations: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Province of British Columbia: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act
Department of Justice (CANADA): Draft UNDA Action Plan