The theatrical production, Mind’s Eye, was directed by Shirley Cheechoo, An accomplished playwright, actor, visual artist, writer and director, Dr. Shirley Cheechoo is also a member of the James Bay Cree of Quebec.
The play was based on the book with the same name, Mind’s Eye, written by Emily Masty and Susan Marshall. Historical, mystical and poignant, Minds Eye is a play that chronicles the powerful stories of survival, courage, honor and community, Mind’s Eye breathes life into our great mysteries and truths about The Lady Spirit of the Caribou and other animal spirits who reveal themselves through the characters suffering abundance and that each is guided by our choices. Narrated by a Cree Elder, Minds Eye magically follows the arch of hunter’s and their families through spirit encounters, shaking tent and haunting dreams as they face life, death and redemption until the final warning that soon, they will encounter visitors that will alter their lives forever.
Each community had two performances, first performance for the general public and the second performance for the students. The tour started with the premier in Whapmagoostui and continued along the coastal and inland communities. People of all ages attended the show with great anticipation to witness history in the making of the first Cree theatrical production.
We see this production as a way to ensure that the treasured stories of our Elders, and the knowledge that they have to share, continues to be passed on from generation to generation. Aanischaaukamikw holds this as one of our most sacred obligations as we strive to work in new and innovative ways. We are grateful to the Elders of Whapmagoostui and to Emily Masty and Susan Marshall for the work they have done in order to record these stories. Mind’s Eye is an enormous achievement in maintaining our culture’s rich traditions, and we hope that this theatrical production will showcase the contribution that the book has made.
ACCI would like to thank the cast and crew of the Mind’s Eye along with all the people involved in the production. The sponsors, whom this would not be possible without their generous contributions.
ACCI is extremely excited about this project and opportunity it has provided to collaborate with the Cree Nation of Whapmagoostui in order to celebrate the stories of our ancestors.
Thank you to all of our sponsors:
Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute
Culture et Communications Quebec
Cree Nation Youth Council
Cree School Board
Cree Health Board and Social Services of James Bay
Ouje-Bougoumou Cree Nation
Cree Nation of Mistissini
Cree Nation of Eastmain
Air Creebec / Creeco / Board of Compensation
Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association
Cree Nation of Wemindji
Cree Nation of Nemaska
Cree Nation of Chisasibi
Cree Nation Government – Cultural & Language
Cree Nation of Whapmagoostui
James Bay Eeyou Companee
James Bay Cree Communication Society