At the First People’s Festival 2002 in Montreal I came across some old friends from Whapmagoostui selling their pottery. They were the students of the Whapmagoostui Art Factory and had won an award or two. These students are looking forward to continuing and you can see the improvement and interest they have in this artform. Their teacher Robert Savoie is proud of them and tells me that they may even be using clay found in another Cree community along the coast.

Talent like theirs are rightfully encouraged by their teacher and should be by the Cree community at large. They are looking for patrons…hint, hint..

They and Cree elder and artisan Tim Whiskeychan were the only Crees present at the First Peoples Festival. I must say that the Crees could ask for no better ambassadors of goodwill than these artisans. Perhaps in the future we will see more Crees showing examples of Cree culture in the future. But in the meantime we are well served in this area until that day.

The following is an email I received from the students teacher concerning their work and I feel his words are more appropriate than mine to congratulate the students on their good work.

Hi, I’m very proud to announce to you that the Badabin Eeyou School students came first at the regional level of the Quebec Entrepreneurship Contest. A special ceremony was held on May 8 at the Chibougamau City Hall. Unfortunately, it was Goose Break. The award and $800 will be hopefully be presented in Chisasibi, with the cooperation of the school administration.

Furthermore, at the national level, the students’ project won the First Peoples’ Business Association Award. The award and $1,000 was presented to the students on June 12 during a Gala held at the Capitol Theatre in Quebec City. Present was M. Simard, Quebec Minister of Education and many officials. Fortunately, this year, we are invited at the First Peoples Festival held in Montreal from June 11 to 17. All the arrangements are made. So we will be in Quebec city on the 12 to represent the Cree School Board. For more details, visit our website.

Thank you for your support.

R. Savoie