On the lot adjacent to the community hall, three young girls take their place in front of the camera. A parking lot is nearby. The sky is overcast. In the distance, several people walk towards the entrance; others talk outside. The first girl to speak is wearing a light blue blouse with coloured stripes towards the bottom, a necklace and glasses. She is holding the microphone in her right hand, and in her left, a traditional rattle.
Well, then... Hello! We’re here in Odanak. We're, uh, outside the community hall. Today is, uh, a day of gathering, a powwow, to commemorate, uh, a person who, who left us last June. Someone very important in the community. Uh... We're here today to talk about... We’re part of the Aw8sissak Akik troupe. Uh... It's been around for about 20... about 20 years. That it was started... We’re, we’re all cousins. It’s part of our family. My mother got it all started with the cousins. Uh, I think it's important to perpetuate, to continue, uh, the, the culture. I think my community is really important. I'm really, uh, inspired, uh... That's it. It really connects with me. Y’know, I'm really proud to be an Abanaki and to be part of a community like this one. I love to sing. We sing, uh, at several places throughout the year. So that's it, then. Here’s Mylène!
Cléophée Lachapelle gives the microphone to a young girl on her right. The girl is wearing an orange blouse with coloured stripes towards the bottom, black pants and a black overcoat with ribbons sewn on to the shoulders. She’s also wearing a bracelet and a necklace made of Indigenous pearls.
Hello! My name is Mylène Trudeau. I’ve been a member of the Aw8sissak Akik troupe for a few years. Uh, since I was 8 years old, I've been part of a dance troupe. So, it was normal for me to, to be part of Odanak's chanting troupe. For me, it's important. It, it allows me to, to raise awareness of my culture and it, it also allows me to keep in touch with the Abenaki language, which is an endangered language, if I may say so. Even if it’s taught in certain classes, it’s very difficult. There are very few people, if not downright no one, who speaks it in the community. So, uh, for me, it's a way to, to try to reconnect and to try to, to maybe also get others interested in, in culture so as to...
Not lose it.
... not... so as not to lose it, exactly, since we don't speak it. Uh... And, uh... That’s it! So, have a good day!
Mylène Trudeau hands over the microphone to the third young girl. She’s wearing a black t-shirt, jeans, moccasins and red earrings.
Oh, my God! Hello! My name is Charlotte Gauthier-Nolett. Uh... It's my first year in the Aw8sissak Akik troupe. So, I'm really proud to be able to talk about this. The chanting troupe allows me to reconnect, just as my cousins have already said, to my culture, because in fact, I wasn’t raised in my community. I’ve been back for about five years. So, I like to... just, doing some , uh, some “beadwork”. And all this has been a way to escape it all. But, that's it. I would really like to know more and more about chants and all that, with languages, as it was so well said. It simply continues to share our culture, our language so that it doesn’t disappear. Uh, well, that's really why I was a member of the troupe, and it also encouraged me to see my cousins who were there. I didn't know any chants. Now, I learn a little more every time I chant. And I have fun sharing things with them, since I don't really see them very often. So, that’s it.
You work at the museum as well.
Yeah, that's right. I work at the museum too. It’s also a.. it's a pledge to culture. It simply makes everything an incredible combination of culture. The only thing that’s missing is a little dance. I'll get started on that! That's it. I have nothing else to say.
Perfect! That’s good! Thank you! Bye!
Cléophée Lachapelle takes back the microphone, and the three girls head towards the entrance of the room.