(Ouje-Bougoumou, August 20, 1997) The Ouje-Bougoumou Cree community in northern Quebec was informed today that it has been selected as an official project of the worlds fair, Expo2000, to be held in Hanover, Germany from June 1 to October 31, 2000.
Ouje-Bougoumou is the newest of the nine Cree villages which comprise the Cree Nation in northern Quebec. The new village was constructed between 1991 and 1995 after decades of forced relocations which saw previous village sites destroyed in order to accommodate the regions mining industry. In the course of constructing the new village several unique community development initiatives were successfully introduced, including a village-wide heating system which utilizes wood waste from nearby sawmills, a community-developed housing program which emphasizes individual home ownership and community self-sufficiency, and a unique architecture which runs throughout the entire village developed by native architect, Douglas Cardinal. The guiding principle in the construction of the new village was the concept of sustainable development.
Ouje-Bougoumou has gained significant recognition nationally and internationally for its community development initiatives. It has received several awards from the United Nations and from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Ouje-Bougoumou was selected to present an exhibition at Expo2000 because the worlds fair organizers believe that Ouje-Bougoumou represents a very tangible expression of the theme of the worlds fair which is the balancing of humankind, nature and technology.
Upon learning of the selection of Ouje-Bougoumou by the Expo2000 organizers, Chief Abel Bosum, who has led his community through a difficult political struggle to gain acknowledgment of the rights of his people and who managed the construction of the new village, stated: This level of international recognition is truly humbling, and at the same time, it confirms what we have said over and over for many years, that if you give aboriginal people the resources to build their own futures according to their own philosophies, there takes place an enormous unleashing of creative energy which is positive not only for us but for the larger society as well. Aboriginal self-government is a win-win situation.
For further information, please contact:
Chief Abel Bosum or Paul Wertman, Advisor 418-745-3911 613-761-1655
visit our website: www.ouje.ca
Note that Douglas Cardinal is the architect for the Smithsonian Museum's new National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.