In the late 1970’s during and shortly after the relocation project of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, it became quite evident that with the development of the community and the population growth that the community would require some type of an economic base. It was during these years that the Council of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi proceeded to undertake the task of creating a community industry and forestry, being the main industry in the territory was selected to be such an industry for the community.
In 1983, with the creation of the first native corporation within the community of Waswanipi and most likely one of the first native corporations involved in forestry within the province of Quebec, Mishtuk Corporation was created.
It was during this time when Peter became the director general of Mishtuk Corporation and continued to be involved in the development of the Waswanipi community forestry industry and the creation of the Nabakatuk Forest Products sawmill.
Peter J. Gull, speech during the opening of the sawmill
In June 1997 and after several years of negotiations and planning, the community wood transformation center, which we know today as the Nabakatuk Forest Products sawmill, became a reality.
During these two decades Peter was employed by Mishtuk Corporation and held various executive positions although he faced many challenges in life, he became vision impaired and became an amputee. In the last ten years, we at Mishtuk have been witnesses to his perseverance and dedication to the corporation and to life itself.
In winter of 2002-2003, Peter started making retirement plans for the end of June 2003 and in his last memo to the board of directors he wrote “I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to all the employees and the board of directors of the corporation who have supported me in my 20-year service as the director general. In addition I would also like to extend my most sincere thanks to the former chiefs and members of the Council who have supported me for the past 20 years. I do understand that there may have been some difficulties for some of the chiefs and members of the Council, whether it was for personal or political reasons to give support to the initiatives of another individual, but I still extend my most sincere thanks to these individuals.”
On June 10, 2003, Peter celebrated his 60th birthday, the very same day he became ill and was rushed to the Chibougamau hospital. That same night as the family went to meet him, he was transferred by plane to Montreal. With his wife and family by his side, Peter passed on to meet his savior at the Montreal General Hospital on June 18, 2003.
Peter, you have been an inspiration to all of us and we will deeply miss your physical presence in our lives.
The employees and board of directors of Mishtuk Corporation
A poem written and read by Michel Awashish during the opening of the sawmill
“A man had a dream”
A man had a vision, a goal,
For the community to be whole.
A mill was in sight, so near,
But it took many years to be.
The day has finally come,
When all is said and done.
For many they see a change,
Good, bad or both.
But for many, it’s a new beginning,
A road to new challenges and opportunities.
So here we stand, taking that first step, For all the tomorrows we’re going to face. So as we go in, remember we’re not taking, Bufwe’re taking back what’s been taken from us.
For us to maintain and control like it’s suppose to be,
For our children and their children to be independent. The’vision, the goal is here today Let’s keep in our hearts for it to stay. For as long as we can and more,
For it is ours.
LONG LIVE NABAKATUK