Within the permanent exhibition of the Abenaki Museum, huge murals illustrate the Abenaki way of life. Various objects are displayed, including a birch bark canoe, animal skins and drums. Explanatory panels are placed in front of the objects and murals. Screens also allow you to view demonstrations of Abenaki know-how. An elevator is accessible towards the back of the room. A young man is walking towards the camera.
[Comments in the Abenaki language]
Hello, everyone! My name is Mathieu O'Bomsawin and, uh, I am the director of the Abenaki Museum in Odanak. Uh, the museum, uh, is the... We're actually the first Indigenous museum, uh, in Quebec.
We opened our doors 52 years ago. Now here, we are in fact in the permanent exhibition that will narrate the history, the way of life, uh, and the know-how of my nation, uh, the Abenaki nation.
And, uh, we’re really very proud, in fact, to have a chance to become an important cultural figure, uh, for the community, for the region, uh... In fact, we serve a clientele from out of town, interested in, uh, in my culture and my history. We also have an inherent community vocation, uh, that’s precisely meant for the people of our community, so that people can anchor and take root here, uh, in Odanak, uh, at the museum.
Uh, the museum, in fact, will propose different initiatives, different activities, uh, throughout the year that will target... that will interest both elders and youth.
We're also going to have temporary exhibitions, uh, that seek to promote our Indigenous artists, uh, in different ways. For example, contemporary artists, who will exhibit their work in our, uh, temporary exhibitions.
But here, in fact, we maintain our permanent exhibition to present different know-how such as, for example, uh... What we’ll see here, in the fall, will be... rather uh, uh, ash baskets will be presented with, uh, a video demonstration, uh, of basketry.
Uh, as for us, here, we actually... Uh, at the museum, we... It also allows us, as young people, to discover our history, to discover our culture, uh, by being interpreter-guides and by doing, uh.... by explaining the history of our, uh... of our nation.
Uh, every year, there are young people who, uh... who will come to, uh, to learn a little more about their history, uh... about, uh, the history of the Abenaki, the know-how, the culture, and it will really help young people to form, uh, their identity, to create an identity and, uh, an even stronger sense of belonging. Which was the case for me, about…about ten years ago, when I started as a guide at the age of 15. Uh, I actually started here, uh, giving guided tours. And today, well, uh, I've become, uh, director, uh, of the museum, uh, for, uh, for a year now.
So, uh, this place here, uh, this place, uh, is one of the most important places of my community, because, in fact, it’s a place that... that ensures conservation, uh, transmission and dissemination of the history and, uh, culture of my community.
Mathieu O'Bomsawin leaves the exhibition hall.