2023 will mark the 350th anniversary of the establishment of Cree-European relations and the founding of Moose Factory as a permanent settlement. In 1973, Moose Cree First Nation leaders and members worked with other Moose Factory residents to plan a 300th anniversary celebration that had a big impact on our community. The MRHHA’s objective is to follow their example and leverage the 350th anniversary to draw attention to the much deeper and broader history of our community and region, and to achieve community and economic development goals that integrate and impact education, heritage and language restoration, reconciliation, traditional and contemporary cultural and artistic development, health, etc. In order to advance this broad objective, the MRHHA aims to build a close working relationship among its jurisdictional, organizational, business, and individual members, as well as other local and regional organizations and other partners and participants across Canada and across the Atlantic.
After a public meeting in January 2020, the MRHHA established a 350th Planning Committee, open to all community members in Moose Factory and Moosonee. This committee, co-chaired by Paula Rickard and Virginia Barter, is working with MRHHA’s Community Coordinator and Executive Director to develop plans for outreach, events and activities, and it has been meeting regularly online. The MRHHA will be reaching out to all local and regional organizations (non-profit, private and public) to invite them to appoint a representative to our 350th planning committee, and to identify annual or stand-alone events, initiatives or activities that could be linked with, and supported by, the 350th commemoration, and which could be given a 350th flavour or component.
The goal is to formally launch, in 2021, a two-year lead-up to the 2023 commemoration. As of next January, therefore, every second monthly public planning meeting for the 350th anniversary will be held in tandem with small or existing public events or activities fostering interest and awareness in our history, heritage and culture. The MRHHA may organize some of these events and activities itself, but, whenever possible, it will partner with other organizations on existing events. For example, at a hockey tournament, we might sponsor an evening of storytelling with old-timer hockey players, and a slide show of hockey photos, followed by a 350th planning committee meeting for those interested. Such events would continue through 2021 and 2022 in preparation for 2023.
In January 2023, the MRHHA will launch the 350th anniversary year, with the goal of giving a 350th flavour to all the existing annual events and activities. In this regard, the hope to also amplify these existing events and activities, by supplementing them or merging them with other new events and initiatives. These goals include: bringing over a group of musicians and others from the Orkney islands; hosting an international conference on the place of Moose Factory within local, regional, national and global history; sponsoring a documentary film and the publication of a book and commemorative-year memorabilia; developping our website and especially an online archive/library; sponsoring youth and student engagement activities and initiatives, especially with the engagement of local schools. Finally, the goal is also to restore key heritage buildings, such as St. Thomas Church, with a view to making them available to the entire community as heritage venues. In this regard, the MRHHA has already established a Save St. Thomas Committee, co-chaired by Logan Jeffries and Norm Wesley.