MA-NEE CHACABY — Ma-Nee’s Journey

Exhibition presented by the CIAC MTL at CDEx, UQAM, 405 Saint-Catherine East Street (at the Saint-Denis street corner), Montreal, Room J-R940, from August 5th to 21st 2019, 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.


“When you grow up, you will be an educator for our people.
You will help others. You will be a healer…”


Photos © Guy L’Heureux


A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby is a story of hope, resilience and love. By pronouncing these prophetic words, her grandmother could not have been more right. Indeed, she was the one who saw the two spirits in Ma-Nee; the masculine and the feminine one when she was younger. Is it luck or is it a curse? For a Two-Spirited child in the 1950s, at Ombabika, inside an Ojibwa-Cree community in the North of Ontario, freedom is endless. She learns to trap, hunt and survive in the forest; she carves wood, sews, tans leather and takes care of the children and the elders. Even through, her grandmother, her beloved kokum, knows that the next stage of her life will be much more difficult.

Ma-Nee had to face many hardships in her life, this brought her to spiritual healing through art. Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, she was adopted by a French-speaking Canadian family. At the age of two, she came back to live with her grandmother, her kokum, to be raised in Omabika, a First Nations community North of Nipigon Lake. As a Two-Spirited elder and storyteller, she uses various media for her spiritual healing and for her community. She is visually impaired and her art represents the everyday challenges of all.




All artworks presented are from the artist’s collection.


  1. Bird Coming Home, 1993


9” x 11” (24 x 30 cm)

Artist Note : Bird carry me away to hear the spirits tell me my journey.


  1. Big Bird carry me away, 1994


8” x 11” (21.5 x 30 cm)


  1. The Offering, 1995


12” x 9” (30.5 x 22.8 cm)

Artist Note : The offering with Spirit who will guide me.


  1. The Confrontation of spirit, 1996


9” x 11” (22.7 x 29.5 cm)

Artist Note : Fire within Woman Bear spirit, the meeting with spirits.


  1. Two Spirited Peaceful Bird 1996, 1996


9” x 11” (22.8 x 30 cm)

Artist Note : Windigo spirits in the mind teaching me to listen.


  1. Confrontation with Spirit Bear, 1997


9” x 12” (22.7 x 30.3 cm)

Artist Note : Spirit Bear confrontation with spirits, listening and learning to the spirits.


  1. Calling my name Wolf, 1997


9” x 12” (22.7 x 30.3 cm)

Artist Note : My first painting I did, this is a fragile paper, I didn’t have proper paper that day.


  1. Letting go woman wolf A 1998, 1998


9” x 12” (22.7 x 30.3 cm)

Artist Note : Letting go Woman Wolf crying out everything from within.


  1. Beaver Mind (think think.) 2001, 2001


11” x 9” (29.5 x 22.8 cm)


  1. My Live as a Bear Who Guides Me, 2002


9” x 11” (22.7 x 30 cm)

Artist Note : My life as a bear who guides me, helps me with my children.


  1. Spiritual Healing, 2007


8” x 11” (22.5 x 30 cm)

Artist Note :  Woman offering Windigo spirit, Woman offering to sacred fire, seaking out for their request for vision journey.


  1. My own Dragon Fly, 2008


9” x 12” (22.8 x 30.3 cm)


  1. Coming to a full circle, 2008


9” x 12” (22.7 x 30.3 cm)

Artist Note : Coming to a full circle within the healing journey.


  1. Leaping over the river, 2014


9” x 12” (22.8 x 30.4 cm)

Artist Note : Leaping over the river seeking out dreams.


  1. Leaping Wolf Spirit journey begins, 2010


14” x 11” (35.5 x 28 cm)


  1. Woman Praying Shelter by Spirit Greese, 2000


10” x 13” (25.3 x 34 cm)

Artist Note : Woman praying by the spirit Greese and offering to the wind of spirit wild be sheltered.


  1. Torn between Woman Child, 2006


10” x 13” (25.3 x 34.1 cm)

Artist Note : Torn between woman and child within and journey shall begin with the spirit of love.


  1. Listening to voices of spirits, 2000


13” x 10” (34.2 x 25.5 cm)

Artist Note : Listening to voices of the spirits and guides me through the journey.


  1. Meeting of Eagle and Wolf, 1997


15” x 12” (39.6 x 30.5 cm)

Artist Note : Meeting of Eagle and a Wolf carrying mother cheld within the spirit of love.


  1. Spirit of Eagle to carry me, 2009


15” x 11” (39.6 x 30.2 cm)

Artist Note : Spirit of Eagle is my train to carry me and show me the way to my peaceful serenity.


  1. The Beaver Woman, 2010


15” x 12” (39.6 x 30.5 cm)

Artist Note : Visited with the Clan receiving, teaching way of being.

  1. Spiritual Awakening, 2014


15” x 11” (39.8 x 30 cm)


  1. Spiritual Healing, 2013


15” x 12” (39.5 x 30.5 cm)

Artist Note : Seeking the spirit and learning Wisdom and letting go.


  1. Hunger for Peaceful life, 2009


18” x 14” (45.6 x 35.6 cm)

Artist Note : Hunger of peaceful life, spirit persons watching carefully as one seeks for own voice.


  1. Dancer Awakes (Sound of Symphony), 2010


12” x 9” (30.5 x 23,7 cm)

Artist Note : Dancer reaching out to spirit wolf mocks.


Founder – General and Artistic Director
Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal


Founder – Director of Cultural Activities
Festival Présence autochtone, Montreal