Children's Drawings in a Mashkeko Cree Community

George Taylor Fulford


This dissertation is an ethnography of Mashkeko ('Swampy Cree') children's art. Specifically, the way in which Cree-speaking children in Kashechewan - a small isolated community on the west coast of James Bay - use drawings as a form of discourse is discussed. Using techniques developed for the structural analysis of myths, the content and form of 200 drawings made by ten Mashkeko children aged 6-12 years are compared and contrasted to show some general characteristics of Mashkeko children's art. It is hypothesized that these drawings function in a way that is analogous to speech and writing. The theoretical relevance of this hypothesis to some current debates about the structure of language is discussed.