The OurVoices.ca website is intended to provide acces to a wealth of audio material on the history and culture of the People of Canada. Made possible through a generous grant from Canadian Heritage, as well as a host of Manitoba community partners, OurVoices.ca will give our communities the ability to have their voices be heard.
The archive of stories and interviews recorded by Louis Bird is the foundation of OurVoices.ca. In Aboriginal culture, teachings are passed from generation to generation in a rich tradition of storytelling. Louis Bird is a renowned Aboriginal scholar and storyteller.
As part of OurVoices.ca and in conjunction with the Omushkego Oral History Project, Bird will share - in Cree and in English - a sampling of the stories of the Omushkegowak or "Swampy Cree" people of the Hudson and James Bay Lowlands of northern Manitoba and Ontario. Bird is from Peawanuck Ontario and has shared his stories with audiences throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. In addition to performing traditional Cree legends, mystery stories, and oral history, Bird has devoted three decades to documenting Cree oral traditions. He began making audiotape recordings of the stories told by his elders in 1965. Today, his collection comprises more than 340 hours of material - the largest extant collection of such recordings. We are proud to be able to bring some of these recordings to OurVoices.ca.
The Omushkego Oral History Project provides a unique opportunity to create a world-class digital archive and website - a permanent record of Swampy Cree teachings. This project has been made possible through the generosity of Canadian Heritage, the Centre for Rupert's Land Studies, University of Winnipeg, Nishinawbe Aski Nation, the North West Company, The University of Winnipeg Library, Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, and other community donors. More about Louis Bird is available from his Biography.