The University of Montréal
and of celebrating indigenous culture
The Tapiskwan project strives to protect the precious heritage of the Atikamekew people, showcasing their culture, talent for design and entrepreneurial spirit. Creativity is the common thread that connects Anne Marchand and her team to the Aitkamekew community.
It’s essential that young people in the community understand the meaning and origin of the symbols used in Atikamekw crafts, and incorporate them in their future identities. Atikamekw youths are interesting in looking back, especially if it helps them move forward.
This interdisciplinary project helps participants document a heritage that until now has been passed down orally, and introduces the younger generation to design, silk-screening and other techniques for creating contemporary products that express their identity. Another objective is to integrate new materials into artisanal practices that are at risk of disappearing given the growing scarcity of natural raw materials. The Tapiskwan project, with a team of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners, is developing an original entrepreneurial model geared to a people who are embracing innovation.
Anne Marchand is Vice-Dean of Research and a Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the Université de Montréal. She has been working with the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw since 2011, using design as means of cultural reappropriation by this Indigenous community, one of the 10 First Nations in Quebec.