Cultural cooperation creates art

Image of Nick Seebruch
By Nick Seebruch
Cultural cooperation creates art
Indigenous artist Mique Michelle in front of one of the murals she created at the Centre Charles-Emile-Claude in Cornwall (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – A partnership between l’Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario (ACFO) of SD&G, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) Board of Education and Indigenous artists has blossomed in the form of two new murals.

The murals were created from the vision of grade 7 & 8 students from Akwesasne and the Franco-Ontarien counterparts in Cornwall and are located in the city at the Centre Charles-Emile-Claude.

The vision of the murals was brought to life by Indigenous artists Mique Michelle and Victoria Ransom.

The first of the two murals depicts an Iroquois smoke dancer, the second depicts a woman, and two partridges on either end of the scene.

Akwesasne is the Mohawk term for “the land where the partridge drums,” Ransom explained, stating that the rapids around Cornwall Island, before the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1958, would make a sound similar to a partridge call, which sounds like drumming.

“The whole reason for the project is to create positive cross-cultural relationships with the students,” Ransom said.

“This exchange on the cultural level creates respect and I think that’s what has come out of this project here,” said Celine Baillargeon-Tardif of l’ACFO-SD&G. “The youths have learned to understand a bit of the life of Indigenous youths, and Indigenous youths too have learned of the Franco-Ontarien culture and where Franco-Ontariens come from.”

Originally, similar murals were to be created in Akwesasne as well, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed that part of the project. Baillargeon-Tardif did say that this partnership would continue to grow, with a second phase currently in preparation to be launched.

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