The Abenakis wish to emphasize their firm opposition to any movement of cultural appropriation by self-proclaimed groups or individuals.
Proud of their rich cultural heritage, the members of the W8banaki Nation have always shown great openness in sharing their culture, traditions and rituals with Canadians, including Quebecers. However, this openness has unfortunately led to cases of cultural appropriation. Indeed, rich in the knowledge transmitted by members of the W8banaki Nation, a growing number of self-proclaimed individuals are claiming to belong to the W8banaki Nation, claiming to be their descendants for various purposes.
Allies and collaborators of the Nation
The Abenakis are the sole guardians of their culture. Although they are open to creating cultural ties with non-native collaborators, the integrity of these ties remains essential. Thus, under no circumstances is it permitted for a collaborator to instrumentalize his or her link with the Nation in order to take advantage of it.
Collaboration with Sylvain Rivard
Having collaborated with Sylvain Rivard for several years, notably within the framework of the activities of the Musée des Abénakis, the Nation wishes to specify that it does not recognize in any way his claims regarding Abenaki descendants. Thus, no forum should be offered to him as a cultural representative of the First Nations. No Wabanaki institution, including the Musée des Abénakis, will collaborate with Mr. Rivard on future projects. Over time, Mr. Rivard has been able to build a profitable cultural credit with the Abenakis, and this, despite all identity recognition. The Nation denounces such an approach and hopes that this denunciation will serve as an example to discourage any other person claiming to belong to the Nation.
About the Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki
The Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki, founded in 1979, is a Tribal Council regrouping the Abenaki communities of Odanak and Wôlinak. Its first mission is defined in three key elements: representation, development and administration.