Over the last five years, ELAN ArtEd has been thrilled to collaborate with inPath and the Cree School Board’s Mikw Chiyâm Program. The Mikw Chiyâm program is a Cree School Board program designed and implemented in collaboration with inPath. This full-year, credit-bearing program includes three 4 or 6-week teaching-residencies integrated into the school’s curriculum. In collaboration with the Mikw Chiyâm teacher, residencies are led by inPath artists, often with the support of local artists and knowledge keepers who guide students in developing individual and collective creative works. All of our programs culminate with end-of-residency celebrations held to honor and share students’ work with their families and communities.
The Cree School Board commissioned David Hodges, Katie Green and Melissa-Ann Ledo to design and pilot the program in the Cree Nation of Mistissini in 2015. From there Hodges, Green and Ledo’s team has expanded into what is now inPath, a non-profit organization with the mission of weaving networks of support for Indigenous youth through creative initiatives. inPath is made up of a passionate team of pedagogy and logistics experts who work to create connections between schools, communities, and the creative sector through responsively designed music and arts-based programming. Since 2016, the team at inPath has connected with ELAN on multiple occasions, initially engaging with the pilot ArtEd initiative – ACE – in 2016. Many of the inPath artists also engage with the ArtistsInspire program, and this year’s partnership gave us the opportunity to work alongside local Cree artists in a more engaged and sustained way within the 2020-2021 Mikw Chiyâm Programming.
2020-2021 ArtistsInspire & Mikw Chiyâm Program Collaboration
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, movement was restricted in and out of schools, which impacted the amount of local artist placements we were able to make in the 2020/21 school year. To adhere to these restrictions, instead of placing many local artists for short term placements, we placed 3 local Eeyou artists for the duration of 4 residencies, and 1 independent project.
The four residencies took place at:
- James Bay Eeyou School in Chisasibi, alongside Mikw Chiyâm teacher Summer Twenish,
- Maquatua Eeyou School in Wemindji, alongside Mikw Chiyâm teacher Mike Morris,
- Wiinibekuu School in Waskaganish, alongside Mikw Chiyâm teacher Andesha
- Voyageur Memorial Highschool in Mistissini, alongside Mikw Chiyâm teacher Marcela Henriquez.
Maquatua Eeyou School, Wemindji Residency 1 – ELAN Local Artist Charly Gilpin
Artists: Cedar-Eve Peters, ELAN local artist Charly Gilpin
Art Medium: Beading
Guiding Question: If you could speak to your ancestors what would you say?
Number of Students: 26
Project Description: Students created a beaded patch or pin with a design of their choice, using printed photos of their family, friends and landscapes of places special to them. Through beading, students engaged in conversations about their identities and families, and thought of things they would like to say to their ancestors. Students used mixed media, including paint markers to manipulate the photo along with beadwork.
James Bay Eeyou School, Chisasibi Residency 2 – ELAN Local Artist Charly Gilpin
Artist: Jess Murwin, ELAN local artist Charly Gilpin
Art Medium: Sewing, sculpture and multimedia
Guiding Question: What would you be in your wildest dreams?
Number of Students: 27
Project Description: The students were tasked with creating creatures based on their alter-egos or fantasy versions of themselves. This process involved learning how to use a variety of materials, group brainstorming, designing their creature and creating a pattern.
Maquatua Eeyou School, Wemindji Residency 2 – ELAN Local Artist Christian Monias (CJAY GRiZ)
Artist: Andrei Savu & ELAN Local Artist CJAY GRiZ (Christian Monias)
Art Medium: Music, Songwriting and Beat Making
Guiding Question: What does Wemindji sound like to you?
Number of Students: 26
Project Description: Students created beats/instrumentals based on their feelings and ideas from their hometown.
Voyageur Memorial Highschool, Mistissini Residency 3 – ELAN Local Artist Christian Monias (CJAY GRiZ)
Artist: Angel Baribeau & ELAN Local Artist CJAY GRiZ (Christian Monias)
Art Medium: Painting, Creative Writing and Video
Guiding Question: What stories do you carry?
Number of Students: 42
Project Description: Students shared short stories using 3 main components: Storytelling, Audio, and Visual Art. They used prompts and brainstorming activities to flesh-out and choose their stories and planned the stories using scripts and/or timelines. They recorded their stories and collected sounds on iPads. Students also created cover art for their stories on canvas with spray paint. Lastly, the students compiled their work on iMovie to create their short story telling videos.
Wiinibekuu School, Waskaganish Independent Project – ELAN Local Artist Kevin Moses
Artist: Kevin Moses
Art Medium: Film making
Number of Students: 34
Project Description: Students were introduced to different cinematography techniques and planning tools, including storyboarding. Students used the app InShot on their cellphones to apply the techniques and practice their editing skills. In the making of their short videos, students considered background noise, phone orientation (landscape vs. portrait), speed, and mood. The purpose of the video was to practice the techniques rather than focus on storytelling. Students then worked collaboratively in groups of three to six to create a storyboard for a short thirty second video.