A permanent exhibition on the contribution of Aboriginal peoples to the building and defense of the country.
The Niganenakwemin exhibition project and website are the outcome of numerous reflections on the processes of decolonization and reconciliation with the First Nations. The project is a meeting place that fosters dialogue between nations so as to present a more inclusive perspective of the role of all the players, Native and non-Native, in the building and defense of the country.
The project got underway with a series of meetings and workshops that took place from September 2015 to December 2016 and that brought together representatives and elders from the Anishinabeg community of Kitigan Zibi, as well as representatives from the Cégep de l’Outaouais, the University of Quebec in Outaouais, the University of Ottawa and secondary schools in the region.
Interior design students were given the task of designing the exhibition under the guidance of the elders of Kitigan Zibi. Nine projects based on the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers were devised. Each teaching involves an animal that incarnates a fundamental virtue: respect, courage, humility, honesty, love, truth and wisdom, the pillars of the exhibition. These values are universal and can be found in each one of us.
The exhibition is structured according to a thematic approach based on the values. Each step of the process, from the development of the contents to the choice and description of the objects, was carried out in collaboration with and with validation from the elders of the community of Kitigan Zibi. Native and non-Native elements co-exist in juxtaposition. Each object on display underscores the theme, is rich in meaning from functional, symbolic and esthetic points of view, and is part of a holistic vision of history. The title of the project bears witness to this: Niganenakwemin/Nous défendrons/We Will Defend. We will defend our country, but we will also defend our territories, our languages, our values and our lifestyles. Three languages, French, Anishinaabemowin and English, give expression to the project.
The result is a space for pedagogical collaboration where all the elements were first deconstructed, then co-constructed and finally reconstructed in terms of both the interpretation of the data and the configuration of the exhibition.
Finally, the website complements the exhibition, which is limited by the constraints of space. It has been designed to provide more detailed information on each of the themes, as well as pedagogical activities for both secondary and college students on a permanent basis.
Welcome to the unceded territory of the Anishinabeg Nation!