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Copyright 2021 © Cree School Board All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Cree School Board. Concept design and editing by Angel Baribeau and Andre Williams Cover design by Sara Gunner Graphic Design by WhiteFox Studios This publication was funded by RBC Future Launch Community Challenge, supported by the RBC Foundation and Eenou-Eeyou Community Foundation. It was made possible by the Cree Nation Government, the Cree School Board, and inPath. Artwork and interviews by youth in the Mikw Chiyâm program from the communities of Mistissini, Nemaska, Waskaganish, Eastmain, Chisasibi and Whapmagoostui. All of the interviews featured in this book have been printed with the consent of the Youth Artist Assistants. All of the poetry and songs featured in this book have been printed with the consent of the students who participated in the creative projects that led to those poems or songs. This book would not have been possible without the creativity of approximately 275 of youth from Mistissini, Nemaska, Waskaganish, Eastmain, Chisasibi and Whapmagoostui.


This book is an expression of love for community, land, and art, as seen through the eyes of Eeyou youth. It is a way of celebrating and connecting through art and creativity while the pandemic continues to keep us at a distance. April 2021

"The term art does not exist in Cree. Art is in everything and is everywhere." Sara



1 2 3 4 5 6



When the Uusdaadaouw Project was initiated in November 2019, it brought young people together from six communities across the Eeyou Istchee. Coming from the communities of Mistissini, Nemaska, Waskaganish, Eastmain, Chisasibi and Whapmagoostui, youth gathered at the Wasteskun Youth Center in Mistissini in late November to participate in leadership and facilitation training as well as brainstorming and dialogue groups.



In Cree, the term Uusdaadaouw means “Let’s Build” and the intention was to think about the many ways art can help build community. Working alongside mentors from the Cree Nation Youth Council (CNYC), youth spent a weekend together dreaming up and mapping out how art and creativity could bring their community together and engaging in leadership and facilitation training which would help them lead dialogues with their peers and community partners throughout the year. The goal would be to conceptualize an arts project that would respond to the needs of each community, as understood and defined by youth. The project was set to run from November 2019 into May 2020, with plans to host collaborative art making and “Vital Conversations” in each community. The Vital Conversations— supported by the Eenou-Eeyou Community Foundation, the Cree Nation Government, inPath, and the RBC Future Launch Challenge—would bring youth and community organizations together to create art and engage in dialogue around themes such as wellness, healthy communities, land and environment, Miyupimaatisiiun, resilience, among other important themes. The art-making initiatives would align with the Mikw Chiyâm artsbased programming taking place throughout the year, in schools in each community. Each project was set to be celebrated with a community gathering at the end. When the pandemic hit in March, plans for physical gathering, connection, and collaborative art making came to a halt.


By mid March of 2020, the Uusdaadaouw project as it had initially been imagined was put on hold, just as much of the day to day activities of the entire world were put on hold. In the weeks and months to follow, the Uusdaadaouw community art projects were paused, but Mikw Chiyâm arts-based programming continued fostering creative connection and learning within the classroom. The pandemic invited everyone to find new ways of connecting, collaborating and creating a sense of community. Following the guidance of the Cree School Board, the program was able to restart through classroom based activities in the Fall of 2020.The Youth Artist Assistants who were hired to support Mikw Chiyâm programming throughout 2020-21 school year kept the spirit of the project alive, within the confines of the pandemic.



Although the original vision for the Uusdaadaouw project shifted in response to the limitations the pandemic brought on, the desire to create and imagine futures driven by youth and connect through creativity and art stayed strong. The images and projects featured in the pages of this book highlight the creative work that happened despite a global pandemic. This book gives the opportunity to celebrate youth voices across Eeyou Istchee and share this incredible work with the broader community. The Uusdaadaouw project, in its many adaptive forms, asked youth to reflect on their love for the land, their community, and the things that inspire them.The pages of this book bring together their multiple stories, creations, collective knowledge, insights, and experiences. The images and words contained throughout are an ode to how they view and love their communities. While this book showcases the beautiful works that flourish when youth are given the chance to lead and make decisions, it also asks its readers to imagine what a youth-driven world inspired by creativity and connection could look like.






INTERVIEW 1 “I think it’s like building a relationship with the youth and helping them become more open: in their minds and perspective with everything, including themselves and others. Helping them understand why things are the way they are.” -Sara

“It means everything. That is what got me to live life growing up. I had these programs in the summer. Having an art program is a bigger platform. People you barely know become themselves and you get to see that.” -Daniel



“It helps them get out of their comfort zones. It will have the ability to change a community when the kids become leaders in their community. You see the effects later down the line.” -Anonymous

“When it comes to art it gets very personal, especially when there is a space for it. Youth will have personal moments and trust is built. Youth engagement can be very secret, it’s great when they open up to you and come out of their shell. It’s very meaningful. We still hang and have built that trust. They become fam, you know?” -Andrea






“The culture and tradition—they bring family together and closer. And that’s just so beautiful to see. Hearing stories from family that were passed down. We are very spiritual people. Through stories, we talk about spirituality and its history. It’s history from each family that brings people together, that’s what makes our community beautiful.”

“How involved the youth are with each other and how they try to be inclusive with others who they don’t talk to enough. There are negative things happening but also lots of positives.” -Anonymous


“Because I’m from here! Honestly, the sunsets and scenery with the river. Such a key place for photographs. I feel that’s what makes Waskaganish Wask. I love it out on the land.” -Andrea


“I’d say the people here are really great. I see a lot of people who like to help each other and they are so open to sharing with other people. I really look up to that. You can tell that our culture is very alive and well here. So many activities to revive our culture. Our culture is alive.” -Sara




“High school is a place where you want to hide. Here in the Eeyou Istchee, it can be hard for people. Coming out of your shell is the best way to create your community. You are being more real and creating more connections by doing so. Having Mikw Chiyâm is a safe space [for me] to come out of my shell.” -Andrea

“I’d say that letting themselves know that it’s all up to them. Let the teacher create the space for that safe space of encouragement. Have them open up to see how beautiful our community is and our people.”

“As young adults, we have to push ourselves to connect with younger kids and introduce them to the world. That’s how they build connections with other people who love what they do.” -Daniel




"I always think of the phrase.. be who I needed when I was younger." Sara





“The term art does not exist in Cree. Art is in everything and is everywhere. When we do our culture, many families don’t celebrate culture and culture can be celebrated. People are vulnerable in art spaces. Building community in art making spaces.” -Sara

“I feel like everyone working together is what brings people together. That they’re bringing new ideas and teamwork—that’s what builds community. When we were painting the Youth Council Office, we could see people throwing ideas at it. You can definitely see the connection, throwing a piece of their brain at something.” -Andrea

“Think about the influence we have through art making. We’re such a small community and we were often put to the side. It really has to include the whole group. As young adults, we have to push ourselves to connect with younger kids and introduce them to the world. That’s how they build connections with other people who love what they do.” -Daniel


“Art marking is sort of like a cultural thing. Not only does it connect people, it connects them to their own cultures and helps them understand the culture of other people too.” -Anonymous


"Everyone working together is what brings people together." Anonymous 24








INTERVIEW 1 “I really reflect on some of the things that scarred me or have dramatically impacted me. I started making music in the classroom and it’s when I reflect on my life and what comes up in my mind. It can actually be healing for me. That’s what I get inspired by. Having these ideas, it’s like putting on a bandaid.”

“Sunsets and the women in my life. When I am around all of the women in my life and seeing how creative they can get. Seeing the stories that they tell. Being out on the land.”



“I have been having a lot of blocks lately. What I usually do to help me with that is let go of whatever is stressing me out. I notice that when I’m stressed out, that’s when my creativity won’t flow. I find random things that can help me with the art I make or the stories I write. A simple story of a tree could be something very big. I also like going out where my mind is completely cleared and taking in each element around me.”




“I’m trying to build my own way. I had to really rewrite bars and lyrics and I felt I wanted to find a way to find my own flow. Deconstructing a song to reconstruct it. It just became a thing of my own. I’d shut out other music and try to connect with my mind, emotions, and spirituality. Out of every creative mistake comes a lesson.” -Daniel


"Art marking is sort of like a cultural thing. Not only does it connect people, it connects them to their own cultures and helps them understand the culture of other people too." Anonymous





“Honestly, my grandmother a lot. As I grow older. Especially with who I am becoming as a woman. I love her energy. She had nine girls to take care of and she went to residential school herself. She had almost 100 grandchildren when she passed away. She was a big piece of my heart.”

“My Dad played a big part of it too. I realize my dad sends me pictures of sunsets.” -Sara


“Walks are inspiring to me. Some stories that I’ve written could be based off of people I’ve met and have influenced me. Some artwork that I created was also inspired by other artists’ work. Inspiration from whatever I can find. ” -Anonymous

“Family, they exposed me to all kinds of music. I got my genes from my dad, my dad who was a musician and made Christian music. Just hearing that is amazing. I see my brother rapping and creating songs that connect with people and it connects with me. The north stars our river. Hearing my brother on a song was something so crazy to me. How would it feel if I was on a song? I wanted that feeling. It comes through my family.” -Daniel






DESCRIBE A PIECE OF ARTWORK THAT YOU CREATED AND ARE PROUD OF. “I made these beaded earrings that look like my grandma’s favorite flower. It reminds me of my kôhkom and how strong and resilient she is.

“I’m very proud of the Mikw Chiyâm project we’ve been doing. Just getting something that I wrote on a song makes me very happy and proud. Now that I have a few songs in my books, they give me the drive to continue as an artist.

These are my first water paintings and these are two bears. They remind me of my niece and nephew.

It’s all about hard work, consistency and determination. I am very proud of who I am, where I come from, being an artist, working, making money, and being Cree.”

I painted a rock of my grandpa as well.” -Sara

"Aunties Children"


“This is a photo wood transfer. I made a watercolor for Angel “it says love is up the river.” I made this after two years. Many of my two-spirited friends have struggled with it here. It’s hard to have that connection. How can you be a part of yourself that you want to love. As a Cree, I made this and I am proud. We should love one another, and we gotta love who we wanna love.” -Andrea


"Grandmother and Grandfather, I love you forever"


"I am very proud of who I am, where I come from, being an artist, working, making money, and being Cree." 40



"We are very spiritual people. Through stories, we talk about spirituality and its history. It's history from each family that brings people together, that's what makes our community beautiful." Daniel












“My dad is one of the reasons why I love the land.It’s also a way I used to spend time with him.

“My grandparents and my family. Especially the women in my life. I want the youth to see how amazing our ancestors were living off the land and our culture.

My grandparents (maternal) as well were true Cree people. They were always at their camp. My dad taught me how to look for rabbit tracks and we have a lot of underground creatures in our camp. He also taught me how to look for their tracks.”

My Dad. Every time we went out on the land he always had something new to teach me. Every time I learn something new about the land, I am just mind blown.


Our ancestors went through so much. They were taught to hate themselves, who they were, and where they live. Resilience man, it’s beautiful. Every time I go out onto the land it reminds me of how strong we are.” -Sara

“History, stories from people, cultural tradition, and my family. All of that connects with a love of the land. In the roots I have here. I’m a descendant of David Neeposh, a very powerful person in our community. I kind of believe in the laws of attraction. If you want the land to love you you gotta love the land.” -Daniel


“Honestly, I didn’t go into the bush until two years ago. A friend took me for the first time. That’s who really taught me to be out in the land. I appreciate them so much. Every year I go back and learn something new.” -Andrea





WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT YOU BELIEVE THE LAND SHOULD BE RESPECTED? “I’m thinking about garbage right now. The way that people don’t care about what they kill. They don’t take care of the meat. Just keep it clean, just respect the land. There’s so much love and affection.

“Honestly, garbage! That is one thing that you should be mindful of where you throw your garbage. I had a summer job where we learned a lot of garbage processing. We need to be mindful of what you’re putting on the land. Everything will go in a full circle.

Respect the animals, that itself means a lot. Respecting them is being mindful and open to culture and tradition. We’ve come a long way and we’ve gotta keep hope!”

Everything somewhat goes back to the land. It’s not the way it is anymore. For people who really care for the land, we have to be mindful and educate ourselves for what we put on the land.


The land is our friend and we gotta treat it well!” -Andrea

“Obviously, don’t throw your garbage out there! Our culture is literally based on that: respecting the land. It also teaches the youth to respect it. When you grow up in this culture, you internalize a love for the land.”

“Whenever you take medicine (labrador tea) we usually offer the land tobacco and sprinkle it around the bushes that we’ve picked from. What my family also did was give thanks to the land for what it provides. Whenever the men in our camp bring back food we offer our thanks to our ancestors and whoever isn’t here for us.” -Anonymous





Spirit of the Forest


Respect the Forest 54




“When I’m out on it to be honest, it really gives a feel for it. It’s an energy that is so positive and overwhelming. It doesn’t give you fear, it gives you hope and knowledge. Just walking down a trail it makes me wonder, my ancestors have walked here and animals have walked here. Seeing animals move across the land and places where hunters have gathered is where I feel most connected.”

“I think when I go walking alone or go canoeing alone. When I just stop, take a breather, and appreciate what’s around me. It is so heartwarming. I love canoeing alone and going as fast as I can go and letting the canoe go and running my fingers through the water. Feeling the land.” -Sara


“When I’m out on land, when I’m at my camp, when I’m free from life in my community.” -Anonymous

“When I’m really in the bush. Each goose break is when I really feel connected. When I go berry picking. Especially when I start cleaning and gutting the geese that have been killed. The smell of the trees, snow, and the sound of the wind. That is when I feel so connected. I miss it every year after I leave. It was the most clarity I had after the whole pandemic.” -Andrea



"I kind of believe in the laws of attraction. If you want the land to love you you gotta love the land." Daniel 58


"We need to be mindful of what you're putting on the land. Everything will go in a full circle" Andrea 60














“A story from not too long ago: the great alliance (a railroad being built) with John Paul Morcoh, he was telling the story of his travels to Eastmain. Telling him that they’re gonna dam the river. He was talking about his outrage of what was gonna happen to the land. When he spoke to an Elder, the Elder was so calm. The Elder asked if it will be good for the youth and if it will create more opportunities for them in the future? Without the dam we wouldn’t have any of the things happen. This is one story that really stuck with me. This ain’t a story that has guided me but it stuck with me.” -Andrea


“The stories that have been passed on to me were more for lessons, how to properly manage our camps. It also teaches us responsibility that everybody has and how to work together to have things run smoothly. There are also stories that have been told to me by my cousins that were mostly used to scare me. My cousins’ stories also made a big impact on me wanting to create my own stories. I’ve been very into horror stories as a kid because of them. Some of my earliest work were short horror stories. Thanks to them, I’m really into creating short stories; without them I wouldn’t have become a writer.” -Anonymous

“They have a huge impact on me. There is one story of my great grandmother. The way she handled her situation and knowing that if she can do it, I can do it. She loved sunsets and so do I. I feel that she is there with me everytime I go somewhere and look at the sunset. So many stories are so beautiful. It plays a huge impact.”

“The impact through the stories has really given me a sense of pride. A sense of being proud of who I am. That has a huge impact because it gives me the love to be myself. Just being yourself you attract people. Being proud of who you are and your origin. I’m proud of who I am, proud of being Native. It guides me to make art. Art itself guided me to be an artist. Seeing all of these people become who they are—that itself teaches a lesson in its own way. I understand what they’re trying to say without judgment being passed on. Life stories that the Elders trusted me with. I am honored to know what you’ve been through and it guides me. It’s amazing how I can make these stories mine but they are not mine. The stories have a deeper meaning than me. It’s not me, it’s how I connect with people and how they connect with me. Having someone understand your work because it came across as so true.” -Daniel







“The land is what inspires me to learn the language. It’s going on the land with your Cree culture teacher. That made a huge impact. They’d say words that I don’t understand and would give certain explanations of the word and how to use it. Chisasibi people are so fluent in it. Being able to go on the land and see the connection to language and land. It inspires me to learn.”

“Everytime I see a youth and many of them remind me of myself. And how much I did not know about our culture. I always think of the phrase “be who I needed when I was younger.” I try as hard as possible to be who the youth need. This is what inspires me to be that person and without judgement.” -Sara


“Something that I notice in youth younger than I am is that they all share the same art style (kind of) but interpret it in their own ways.


“I honestly feel that I learn more with them than with my friends.The younger ones that are more quiet.

Just how fluent the youth are in speaking Cree makes me want to speak more Cree to them. I try my best to not speak to them in English all the time.”

We do associate it with our art a lot! How can we create syllabics in our art? When we come up with ideas a lot of Cree language comes up with our art. Cree is associated with some of the lyrics with our art. The youth inspire me to learn and practice more the more artwork we create.”






“I think with family I’d say a lot of forgiveness and love. I think everybody on the rez has a rough childhood and it’s not even our fault. So I think a lot of forgiveness. With friends, a whole lot of patience.Love, patience and forgiveness, I think that sums it all up.”

“Connection I guess. It’s nurturing if you stay consistent to your connection. Having deep founded connections. Consistency and reciprocity. Having connection and communication, little bits of each other’s lives. Putting in the work.” -Daniel


“Laughter, and having a great time.” -Andrea

“I’ve never really thought about it. I’ve developed relationships with people. I’m a shy person but I also like getting to know certain people. I have been told that I’m easy to talk to. Evolving relationships like that are natural to me.” -Anonymous



"When you grow up in this culture, you internalize a love for the land." Sara 78


"Just being yourself you attract people. Being proud of who you are and your origin. I'm proud of who I am, proud of being Native." Daniel



POEMS Dear Hockey, The days go by ever since I was young. The first time I ever played was when I was 4 And it has been 9 years!!! I was really happy when I met you! Me and my teammates had our ups and downs But in the end we still had a good laugh. Some of us would be injured But we get cured fast because we believed in ourselves We might get mad at each other nowadays but we are still friends Me and my teammates make a great team just because of you Now that you are gone I have nothing to do, Sometimes I take out a ball and a mini skate and shoot around with it Since I can’t skate anymore I bring out my skates and skate guards (the ones with the wheels and I skate around downstairs) When you were here life was Amazing Because I got closer to people I love playing hockey with By: Emilee-Lynn

Dear Glowz, you had me at Am I Canadian? your poem was strong and I mean so strong that it had me questioning my self AM I Canadian I don’t know but AM I Indigenously myself? YES I AM proud to be who I AM through blood and my weird unique personality If being Canadian means being nice and all plus ignoring the fact that the Indigenous had to suffer and fight for their rights back then to the present Then I don’t want to be considered a Canadian I’m just another Native woman who is keeping caution in the white man’s streets towns and cities I shouldn’t have to be terrified of riding the bus alone at night I and many other Indigenous people shouldn’t have to be scared of anything in a white man’s “territory” from just an act of racism to get getting fought for accidentally dropping a cup of coffee on a white man in Tim Hortons To walking on someone’s lawn (RIP Colten Boushie) I know I should be grateful for not going through what my grandparents went through But why do I feel so small when I am around white people? Who are to have more class, manners, rights and much more privileges than you as an “Indian” So no, I am not canadian Not by buying coffee at Timmy’s living in canada or by drinking a beer on the first of July when on that day We should all think about what a horrible country we actually are. By: Joni



I can hear it The rattle The flute The drum The bells on the skirts Women taking turns singing in Cree Somewhere far away the birds join them I can see

I remember attending a blanket ceremony. And they told us it’s gonna be dark, pitch black. And I wasn’t sure what a blanket ceremony was and they told us You could or not attend “It’s your choice!” they told us I was curious what a blanket ceremony was, So I decided to join, and we got ready to do the ceremony And they told us you could ask anything you want, Your spirit name or about a dream and with your spirit name It’s for the ancestors to know who you are If you use your name your parents gave you, they won’t know you But if you tell them your spirit name, they’ll know you right away So I asked my spirit name And there was this old lady who told the group There’s a young lady who wants to know her spirit name And the people who were helping out with ceremony told me “Khaydence” stand up. So I did and I remember feeling nervous but excited at the same time When the old lady spoke to me, she said “I see that you work very hard and always take care of yourself” And it’s something I needed to hear at the time and I almost cried when she said that to me. It touched me because I thought no one saw how hard I work In school At work And at home And I was like “Someone actually sees me” and after she told me my spirit name She said “You’re supposed to have three more and I was like “wow 4 spirit names” And I’ll never forget this ceremony (erased but visible) By: Khaydence


The women Playing the instruments Their traditional clothing... Ribbon skirts and bells They are friends practicing together They feel proud and calm dancing around the fire My ribbon skirt has all kinds of colors Beauty and tradition I wear it when I go to ceremonies Walking out (image) Blanket (image) Sun dance (image) Pipe (image) Full Moon (full image) I can smell The sage The pine trees The fresh air The fire I can feel The heat from the fire The peacefulness Joyfulness ... I want people to play in their language and traditional ways Where ever in the world their ancestors are from Everything won’t exist forever People will start panicking what to do ... The traditional way will slowly heal people When they go to ceremonies and for ancestral teachings The traditional way Will teach people to overcome their fear Like we did Not to worry. People would want things to speed up But they might lose something along the way They have to take it slow. By: Sachakinsquao

You remind me of a deck of cards, my main ace I’m in a struggling phase, Can’t replace your face, No clue what to do When I think of you I’m thinking twos I’d like to make you happy like friends do When you left … I felt like a disgrace We would have been three I miss us like you and me I’m lost without directions…All four I wish I wasn’t poor We’d chill around five I felt so alive We used to watch Friends / All six Now I’m trying to stop smoking cigs Depressed / I’m stressed Let me tell you something, You were the best, above the rest If you take me back girl, I’ll give you loving 24/seven Buy you a whole pizza, eight slices Won’t be late for our dates Meet you at heaven’s gate, I miss going out around nine Wish you were still mine Heard love is blind And I can’t see nothing You’re always on my mind One of a kind ten out of ten Make my head spin Look what we could have been Now we ain’t Jack When you left my world cracked I felt smacked / I started to rap For you, I’ll wipe my soul clean My pretty Queen When we were together it was like a love scene I wanted to sing You were my everything. From the Ace to the King You got my hearts That’s why you remind me of a deck of cards That’s why you remind me of a deck of cards That’s why you remind me of a deck of cards By: Poasie


P. 1 Depression you love. memories of the people Makes you lose precious that love you. The people Don’t let it! Depression Uggh through life I know it isn’t easy going talk to, to Feeling you have no one m As if you’re in a dark roo you ling tel es voic se the And all ” ugh eno d goo not “You’re “You’re a disappointment” here” “You don’t deserve to be gs thin l tfu hur of ds kin All l I wasn’t enough Depression made me fee am Trapped in a dre Surrounded by darkness I could see the light to get to it ough all these obstacles thr go to had But I re the got Then when I thought I farther away The light got farther and eachable unr is t ligh the You feel like ick You feel lost and you pan You start to feel numb You stop trying DON’T STOP! KEEP GOING! I know it sucks , as if nothing bothers you Going through your days people you love the Acting happy for you so they don’t worry about But once you’re alone... Everything hits you, How not ok you are, How hard life can get. You feel alone ing yourself to sleep Most nights you end up cry ceiling the Staring at Numb to everything ut depression, t’s And tha what I hate abo , Feeling lost, empty inside you, days for ter bet no are re the e Lik

You just want some on But you’re scared e to be there for you, of what people mig ht say Scared to get judge d Scared So you just keep Bottle it all up until it all inside, you can’t stand it Then When someone asks ... you, how are you? You just burst out crying, And that Is the best and wors release t feeling in the world At my worst, I was perpetual sil en Hood up, headphone ce s in, Energy none Could not get out of bed Much less shower Mom noticed but ke pt quiet until one day she as ked “ are you suici dal?” I responded “yes, I can’t do this anymor Tears bursted ou e” t Revealing my pain Long hidden That release is the worst and best She noticed how not feeling in the world ok I was She noticed I was I could finally share off my mind Release

P. 2

Tell them that you’r e hur Let those feelings ting Release those bad out! thoug The weight of the of a black bear will hts! lift off your chest Your soul can finall y Your soul can fin heal, YOUR SOUL CAN FI ally heal NALLY HEAL! But you have to ta ke steps to heal From the pain, From the hurt. From the heartache Once you make that fir You will feel closer st step, to the light And let me tell you how I know best feeling in the that is the world By: Khaydence



What is a leader? their group or I think someone who guides is a leader! even themselves to victory Sometimes, even a leader gets lost. y a good leader? If a leader is lost, are the ! YES and I believe that I AM. I’ve been told I AM a leader I cry? do why But mple for my followers? exa bad a ting set I am do, I And if Not at all! I’ve been told I’m a happy kid. sadness. y or signs of Who never shows vulnerabilit smiles needs to cry out ays alw who kid a n eve r, Howeve the pain he carries inside. ... I’ve been through a lot. physical abuse emotional torment even saw my own mother I’ve cried on the person who’s shoulders get abused. I’m not proud to admit this ...But... suicide Even I have thought about out my pain cry to D NEE I why is s Thi Show my vulnerability es from inside To release the bad medicin t? tha eve Can you beli sadness. A person who never shows les smi ays alw who son per A making jokes to numb the pain st out crying. a long day and bur Could still come home from r while no one’s watching. floo the on n dow g Breakin ! I am not weak because I cry No! I AM strong! reason. Everything happens for a Including the pressure followers. To be an example for my Be a big brother. A good leader. . k I have failed as a leader thin I Sometimes, e tru be ht mig It e. p me from leading by exampl but, that’s not going to sto step at a time. I AM taking one each line Healing from trauma with Here I AM here leading with... ility... isdom...Happiness...Vulnerab ! e...W rag Cou leader ong str a es mak t wha t’s And tha


By: Khayden

UNSWEET SIX TEEN What is I thought the bi a sweet sixteen? g birthday wa when we enter s supposed to be ad So why a sweet ulthood sixteen? Wi ll it change Will the unhapp y doves of depr anything? ession be Probably not bu t a little hope released from me? doesn’t hurt right? Wr High expectat ions are just th ong!!! e disappointmen ts you are looki forward to ng When will things get easier? Ha ve I learned an From bedmas yt to essay writin hin g academically g? ... yes Mentally? I don’t think so How do I heal fr om a hurt I crea ? impossible poss ted by overthinking the ibilities? Maybe growing up means that ... you outgrow th e fact you actu ar ally These question e growing up? s ke ep me sleepless at ni insomnia is a fr ght iend of the de they get along pression I go through qu it e we Until their argu ments appear ll in my head I need to be sa ved from these ... thoughts that make me not wa to be here nt I don’t want to die Even if I though t about suicide I would never pa ss down my They keep me pain to the people who love me alive in the dayl ight I AM But when the mo thankful for them onlight rises wi I wander into th th e forests of dis its dark blanket pleased though ts ... I AM fifteen an d afraid. ... Why am I going through this no nsense? Sweet sixtee I AM healing in n a way In the daylight, I feel lik on a cold Christ e a piece chocolate mas but when night morning fa I am just the co lls... coa unsweet sixteen By; Joni


SOMETHING WITHIN Lyrics by students from Mistissini

FEATURING Isaac, Landon, Precious, Luther, Tina, Edna, Arthur, Vernon, Jamie, Anabella, Lorenzo, Rayshawn, Everes, and Joy.


I just need to find something within With hope, you can move mountains If you show your power In the final hour, You can move mountains If you desire


Edge of the world In the dark night Twilight came Tired of the games Burning smile Respectful disguise Ignorant love Tornado of lies



Put out the fire In my head Night has come to an end a journey ahead And I’m tired Oh I’m tired



I just need to find something within With hope, you can move mountains If you show your power In the final hour, You can move mountains If you desire

HOOK/CHORUS Show your power Show your power Show your power Yeah


I want to show my ability to glow And let my heart grow While the wind blows I just need a getaway I just need time today I just wanna feel okay I just wanna be okay, okay?


I just need to find something within With hope, you can move mountains If you show your power In the final hour, You can move mountains If you desire


Show your power Show your power Show your power Yeah x2






INTERVIEW 1 “I think because youth go through so many obstacles when they want to do something. You can see the different emotions they go through. Seeing some youth, it’s hard for them to be vulnerable. It is good to see them finish—it is the greatest feeling. I think it’s important to acknowledge that they went through all of their obstacles and it’s important for me to show that I’m proud of them.”

“I think it’s important to appreciate and thank them for putting in the work. Appreciation of everything that was created. A collective thing that we all did! It is important to show youth that they are supported. It’s such a different vibe.”



“It gives people a sense of pride. It’s so exciting when your family can hear your stuff too. Celebration nurtures the souls. It makes you feel bigger than how you felt before.



Mikw Chiyâm is so amazing: it’s important because it gives people the ability to be proud of themselves.”

“It’s kind of like a relief of whatever it is that you’ve been working on. For students, I know this is the case. Whenever we have our celebrations here, it gives them the time to talk about what they have learned or had fun with during our residencies. Also when they get to know the artist it just shows how they appreciate what the artists have taught them and what they’ve been able to share with their peers.”






“I think I see a lot of feasts! We throw so many feasts throughout the year. Seeing the youth kill their first moose and seeing the community feast. When we finished the canoe brigade. There was a feast and we each had a cake per family and our own sweater and our own paddle. To feast together is to celebrate everyone’s life.” -Sara

“It is always associated with food! There will always be food snacks or something being served. That is how we celebrate as a community. Sitting down as a family and having food. No matter how big or small the meal, we appreciate the food.”

“Gatherings, the whole community coming together.The amazing thing about it too is that they have their own family recipes and seeing it come together to create amazing food.” -Daniel








“It feels amazing. I get random people acknowledging my work and I’m like, wow! It gives me a sense of happiness. I feel grateful for that, even for a moment.” -Daniel

“I love celebrating with my friends. It’s so good to actually feel the love and acknowledgement. It feels amazing! They see something in you that they don’t see themselves.” -Andrea

“There is a whole mix of emotions when our work is being acknowledged. It’s kind of like a roller coaster. You feel very proud of what you’ve done at first or you feel like it may not be enough. When people start acknowledging it it becomes a mix of fear of people criticizing it. You are happy but you’re also potentially embarrassed that people are seeing your art. It’s hard to describe because with each thing you do, it could be the same mixed feelings or a completely different thing.” -Anonymous


“I think it feels great. When I first became an assistant guide and then I realized how thankful people were for my role.” -Sara




“FOOD! The feeling of somebody’s work was acknowledged, bringing some positivity. That plays a big part, seeing a bunch of people coming to celebrate you. It shows a lot of love. I think that’s the best part.”

“Bringing everyone together! I have a big family and that’s the best part. When a memory comes to mind the energy and love flows around. Even from friends, not just family. Just the love and acknowledgement. Coming all together just to be together.”



“FOOD — just kidding! Someone showing you a piece of themselves, that’s the best part of celebrating.” -Daniel

“When you’re just lost in the moment of having fun with your friends and people who are around. It all happens so fast that you just want to savour every moment that passes by. Even if it’s a small conversation or having laughs with your friends. It just happens so quick that you just wanna enjoy it.” -Anonymous



"It is important to show youth that they are supported." Andrea 104




THANK YOU THANK YOU TO THE UUSDAADAOUW PROJECT YOUTH LEAD, Angel Baribeau, for supporting the development of the YAA Training Event, running the Vital Conversations in each community and bringing together an incredible cohort of Eeyou youth to share their visions for the future through their creative projects and this book.

THANK YOU TO THE YOUTH ARTIST ASSISTANTS, for your support in creating safe and engaging learning environments for youth and being an exemplary creative changemaker within your community: Andrea McLeod, Cécilia Neacappo, Charmaine Alisappi, Daniel Neeposh, Jessica Gillies, Juwanna Duff, Keesha Gilpin, Leah Matoush, Sara Gunner, Summer Wesley-Blackned & Sylvain Gilpin. THANK YOU TO THE TEACHERS for enduring an incredibly difficult year with grace, resilience and ingenuity, all the while supporting your students in their learning and growth, in-person and at a distance. Your persistence, ability to adapt and build new ways of teaching and learning made these projects and this book possible: Andesha (Dash) Kukha-Bryson, Dakotah Lapierre, Danyelle Orwick, Diana Roldan, Jamie Bradbury, Marcela Henríquez, Ryan NoelHodge & Summer Harmony Twenish. THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING INPATH ARTISTS for providing support and creative inspiration during a year coloured by change and surprise.Your commitment to youth and your adaptability have helped make this project happen: Brit Kewin, Cheyenne Scott, Francine Cunningham, Ila Barker, Peatr Thomas, SPIN El Poeta, Steve Haining & Vanessa Stephen.

THANK YOU TO THE INPATH TEAM for supporting the Uusdaadaouw project from beginning to end. Your adaptability and creativity during a time of immense change and unpredictability has meant that hundreds of youth have had the opportunity to continue connecting in creative ways.

Mayappo, Marissa Whiskeychan, Marius Cheezo, Marsha Moses, Mary-Jane Shanush, Mathias Gilpin, Mathias Wesley, Patrick Mataham-Gilpin, Quincy Moses, Rosalie Mayappo, Rylan Dixon, Sebastian Mason, Sierra Shanoush, Skyler Cheezo, Storm Saganash, Tanisha Gilpin, Telisha Gilpin, Vincent Mark-Stewart, Winston Moses

THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE INCREDIBLE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS PROJECT, in many forms, between 2019 and 2021. Your creativity and connection to one another - even while apart - shows up in some many ways through your art, music, and poetry.

MISTISSINI CREE NATION - VOYAGEUR MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL MIKW CHIYȂM STUDENT PARTICIPANTS Aaliyah-Jasmine Coon, Abel Longchap, Abigail Loon, Alayna Wapachee, Alexus Matoush, Alyssa MacLeod, Andrea Shecapio,Angel Brien,Annabella Zerah Mianscum,Antonios Anthony Rombotis, Arthur Esau-Angatookaluk, Britney Coon, Christian Neeposh, Darius Trapper Mianscum, Destiny Matoush, Destiny Wapachee, Edna-Jean Linton Taylor, Ethan MacLeod, Everes Gunner, Haleigh Trapper, Heavenly Brien, Helainna Linton Taylor, Hunter Neeposh, Isaac Iserhoff, Jamie-Lynn Coon-Come, Jarred Voyageur, Jayden Wapachee, Jewyll Brien, Jodi-Lynn Jimikin, Johnny Swallow, Jonathan Mattawashish, Josiah Blacksmith, Josie Gunner, Joy Gunner, Katelyn Blackned, Kathleen Shecapio, Kayla Voyageur, Kaynen Whiskeychan, Keira MacLeod, Kenyon Awashish-Hunter, Keonii Coonishish, Landon Brien, Lauren Loon, Lawrence (Jared) Linton, Lawrence Jr Petawabano, Lincoln Petawabano, Lorenzo Shecapio, Luther Trapper, Maggie Minister, Martina Voyageur, Maudie Ratt, Myles Coon-Come, Otish Matoush, Paul Mianscum, Paulina Matoush, Precious Masty Flemming, Precious Shecapio, Precious Stephen Wapachee, Rayshawn Blacksmith, Rianna-Skye Iserhoff, Robert-James Matoush Trapper, Ryan Campbell, Samuel Awashish-Desbiens, Samuel Blacksmith, Sean MacLeod, Semera Coon, Shavonne Nakogee, Sherrie Shecapio, Sianna Matoush, Sophie-Rose Mianscum, Tamar Rabbitskin, Tanisha Longchap, Tina Dash, Vernon Gray, Zacharius Mianscum

CHISASIBI CREE NATION - JAMES BAY EEYOU SCHOOL MIKW CHIYȂM STUDENT PARTICIPANTS Alayna-Jade Gull, Alexander Lameboy, Alyana-Jade Gull, Angel Martinhunter,Angus-Lee Sam,Avril Pachanos, Bianca House, Cameron Biron-Sutherland, Carlene Washapabano, Crystal Swallow, Daisy Salt-Longchap, Danielle Sealhunter, Delayna Cox, Ella Grimstead, Emma Pepabano, Ernesha Herodier, Garrett Duff, Gisele Snowboy, Hailey Sealhunter, Haydence Sam-Moar, Jarret Wadden, Jason Pepabano, Jodi Ann Sealhunter, Justin-Thomas Tapiatic, Keneon Otter, Koral Spencer-Tebiscon, Kyara Kanatewat, Lily Jonah, Malachi Rabbitskin-Bobbish, Malika Rupert, Marion Cox, Mikayla Matoush, Ramona Wasipabano, Rim Rhdaïfi, Ronnie Lameboy, Shana-June Matthew, Shaquillia Trapper, Stella Sealhunter, Tanisha Rupert, Tashvit Verma, Trisity Poucachiche-Bearskin,Victoria Sealhunter EASTMAIN CREE NATION - WABANNUTAO EEYOU SCHOOL MIKW CHIYȂM STUDENT PARTICIPANTS Aaliyah Tomatuk, Amelia Gilpin, Bailey Tomatuk, BlakeJarrell Shanush, Blaze Corston, Chad Gilpin, Cinderay Saganash-Gilpin, Collin Gilpin, Darius Cheezo, Darius Gilpin, Darnell Gilpin, Eileen Gilpin, Eliana Gilpin, EmilyAnn Weapenicappo, Ethan Moses-Happyjack, Fiona-Grace Cheezo, Isabella Moses, Jaylene Moses, Jolene Moses, Keaira Shanush, Keenan Gilpin, Khayden Gilpin, Mackenzie Whiskeychan, Marcus Sam, Marilee Gilpin, Marissa

NEMASKA CREE NATION - LUKE METTAWESKUM SCHOOL MIKW CHIYȂM STUDENT PARTICIPANTS Areanne Kitchen, Cherish Wapachee, Daniel Jimkin, Hannah Herodier, Josaiah Jolly, Julianna Blackned, Layla Wapachee Orr, Marcus Jolly, Preston Cheezo Papabano, Samuel Kitchen, Shannelle Moar, Trinitee Neeposh

WASKAGANISH CREE NATION - ÉCOLE WIINIBEKUU SCHOOL MIKW CHIYȂM STUDENT PARTICIPANTS Aileen Hester, Alexis Beauregard, Alexis Blueboy, Alice O’Connel, Angelina Crowe, Annie Moar-Salt, Danis Whiskeychan, Dayna Wadden, Dean Hester, Ella Hester, Ellayna House, Elorene Esau, Emma-Jade WeistchePepabano, Evander Weistche, Faith Whiskeychan, Gabriel Whiskeychan, Jacklene Diamond, Jake Etapp, Jessica Stephen, Jordan Gilpin, Joshua Erless-Blackned, Junelle Moar, Kayden Cheezo, Kerrisha Weistche, Kianna Stevens, Kyla Whiskeychan, Kyra Blueboy, Laurel Blackned Blueboy, Layla Diamond, Layla Moses, Lewis Polson, Lizzie-Ann Whiskeychan, Lucas Beauregard, Lyle Stephen, Melody Hester, Misha Moses, Mishanda Blackned, Niibin (Levi) Erless, Pheonix Georgekish, Reshawn Iserhoff, Rhianne Hester, Samiah Stevens, Scott Stevens, Shalawna Lameboy Hester, Sharese Moses, Shelbie Erless-Blackned, Simon Blueboy, Starlyne Weistche, Stormie Diamond, Titus Blueboy Weistche, Trinity Shecapio, Truman Diamond, Tyra Diamond WAPMAGOOSTUI CREE NATION - BADABIN EEYOU SCHOOL MIKW CHIYȂM STUDENT PARTICIPANTS Ambriel Rupert, Anthea Mark-Masty, Brianna Kawapit, Charlie Niquaniccappo, Connor Martin, Destin-Jay Monais, Emilee-Lynn Napartuk, Emily Martin, Gail Petagumskum, Gerek George, Jayron Wapachee, John Snowboy, Jonah George, Joni Boudrais, Jorja Alisappi, Kaydie Dick, Khayden Dick, Khaydence Kawapit, Layla Calvin Gilpin, Mayson Kawapit, Megan Louttit, Naamon Dick, Nathaniel Kawapit, Nehemiah Sheshamush, Peyton Pepabano, Poasie Saviadjuk, Rain Iserhoff, Rhianna Natachequan, Riley George, Rylan Salt, Sachakinsquao Masty, Sam-Willie Quarak, Samantha Rupert, Starr Sheshamush, Susan Sandy, Travis Sandy, Trey Snowboy, Wendell Kawapit, Xavier Papatsie

THANK YOU THANK YOU TO THE CREE NATION YOUTH COUNCIL AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT WORKERS for your ongoing commitment to inspiring and supporting the next generation of creative changemakers. These projects could not have happened without your dedication and commitment to creative expression, community stewardship and youth leadership: Charlot Jolly, Jamie Jacob, Samantha Awashish, Shayla Napash, Stacy Anderson & Tania Lariviere. THANK YOU TO THE COMMUNITY PARTNERS who started this journey alongside the youth early on in the project. Your dedication to youth engagement and leadership inspires the next generation of Eeyou youth to envision futures that call to their needs: Chisasibi Uschinishuu Youth Clinic, Eastmain Youth Center, Mistissini Hope Committee, Nemaska Youth Center and Youth Council, Waskaganish Wiichihiiwewin Center & Whapmagoostui Youth Centre

THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS AND INITIATIVES for supporting the Uusdaadaouw project and making this book possible: RBC Future Launch Community Challenge Eenou-Eeyou Community Foundation Cree Nation Youth Council Cree Nation Government Cree School Board Mikw Chiyâm inPath




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ᒥᔪ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᐃᐧᐣ | Miyo-pimâtisiwin | (Living Life Well)  

This book is an expression of love for community, land, and art, as seen through the eyes of Eeyou youth. It is a way of celebrating and con...

ᒥᔪ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᐃᐧᐣ | Miyo-pimâtisiwin | (Living Life Well)  

This book is an expression of love for community, land, and art, as seen through the eyes of Eeyou youth. It is a way of celebrating and con...

Profile for _inpath_

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