The Paquataskimik Project (2008-2012)

The “Paquataskimik Project” is a community project in Fort Albany First Nation. A wide range of advisors, participants and supporters from throughout the community and beyond have been promoting activities that bring together youth, adults and elders to dialogue about land, water and traditional territory. Read more

"Paquataskimik" is an Inninowuk (Cree) word that describes the 'natural environment' and draws attention to the 'whole' of traditional territory.

The “Paquataskimik Project” is a community project in Fort Albany First Nation. A wide range of advisors, participants and supporters from throughout the community and beyond have been promoting activities that bring together youth, adults and elders to dialogue about land, water and traditional territory.

A few years ago, a small-scale inter-generational audio project began to take shape in Fort Albany which focused on understanding the importance of people’s relationships within traditional territory, and specifically the Albany River for social and economic well-being. This project has had support from various organizations, including NORDIK, the Social Economy Centre of University of Toronto and Rural Women Making Change out of the University of Guelph and developed into a broader research initiative on the importance of land and territory overall.

For more information on the project, including image galleries and the "Paquataskimik is Home" documentary, visit the Paquataskimik website.

An advisory group composed of community representatives have given oversight to the activities being undertaken. The community based research aspects of the project have grown and has taken on new dimensions. The advisory committee in Fort Albany First Nation has been working on developing a strategy for a ‘community mapping’ process that centres on valuing Mushkegowuk (Cree) practices and knowledge. NORDIK has collaborated with the advisory group in Fort Albany to develop a series of training and research activities, including a CESD “off-site” university accredited course on community based research, mapping and land/water issues.

The Paquataskamik Project's applied activities:
- Community engagement and open discussion on key land issues
- Community mapping of sites and stories related to traditional territory
- High school and university accreditation in community research methods and traditional knowledge
- Applied/land-based activities including the 2009 Kistachowan Raft Trip and 2010 Kapiskau River Winter Excursion
- Audio and video documentation
- Production of creative materials including documentaries, website, zine, and written material
- Participation in events, workshops, and conferences

The course included two river excursions that have taken place the past two summers. A community member formed the plan to design, build and lead a raft down the Kabinakagami, Kenogami and Kistachowan (Albany) rivers from Constance Lake First Nation to Fort Albany First Nation, which was home to elders, youth and adults for over a week. Participants in the river excursion interview elders and each other about the sites and stories along the river.

Cree names were re-introduced onto a map that took on a whole new character in contrast to English language maps. Signs marking some of the important sites along the Albany River were erected making it known to all who travel the route that that region is of great importance to the original peoples of the area.