Artistic Culture at Manitou College


Kolipoîo, Mino pijan, Miro peicak, Ekudeh, Minatakushini, Ilaali, Weltasualulnog, IÓh, Nimiwaitan Takuasenen, Yiheh, Welcome to the website of the Artistic Culture at Manitou College research project!

Manitou College was the first bilingual post-secondary institution for Aboriginal studies in Eastern Canada (La Macaza, Quebec). In his book The New Buffalo (2006), Cree-Saulteaux researcher Blair Stonechild, who was assistant director at Manitou College, testifies to the unique contribution made by the College, whose programs and organization promoted, he recalls, the development of “self-confidence” and “identity” (56). The College’s orientations were defined by the primacy accorded to the revitalization of Aboriginal languages ​​and the training of Aboriginal teachers, among other things. The art programs were structured by a concern for the transmission of traditional knowledge and, at the same time, the development of contemporary approaches.

More than an educational institution, Manitou College was a living environment where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, both Francophone and Anglophone, coexisted. Professors, employees, students and families were called upon to negotiate ways of cooperation.


Although the importance of its heritage in the field of art in Canada is recognized, and well beyond its years of operation (the College closed in 1976), few studies are devoted to the impact of Manitou College’s artistic culture in the field of art, in particular, and in society in general.

The College’s history, the innovative character of its teaching programs and the constructive impact of the artistic and cultural activities that developed there are, however, little known and too rarely mentioned in the history of Canada and Canadian art.

In the spirit of the proposals for action formulated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015), our project, Artistic Culture at Manitou College, hopes to help make visible the pioneering character of Manitou College, which decisively affirmed the distinctness of the cultures that lived side by side, while marking inspiring ways of coexistence.

A collaboration between three researchers, Edith-Anne Pageot, Camille Callison (Tahltan) and Peter McNally, from different disciplines and linguistic and cultural backgrounds, this research project aims to contribute to efforts of historiographic analysis and decolonization of methodologies in order to imagine alternative, inclusive and respectful ways of practicing art history in Canada and to redefine the markers that shape its contours.

If you lived on the campus of Manitou College, studied or worked there, and agree to share your testimony, we invite you to click on the tab I participate.


* We thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the UQAM Programme d’aide financière à la recherché et à la création (PAFARC) for their financial support.