Creefest was launched in an effort to create a greater cultural awareness among the youth. Ininiw Makoshewin, the Cree name for the festival, means “celebration of people, and celebration of life.” The three-day gathering kicked off Aug. 4 at the Peetabeck Academy in Fort Albany to mark the commemorative signing of Treaty #9.

This was the third gathering of its kind; the first Creefest was in Moose Factory, and the previous celebration was in Cochrane. The gathering travels to new communities each year, and next year it will take place in Attawapiskat.

Mike Loon of Peetabeck Academy described the event as “three days of lots of work, lots of fun, and plenty of singing and dancing.” The event brings communities together, 500 people a day arrived from the nearby communities of Kashechewan, Hudson’s Bay, and James Bay.

The workshops were traditionally orientated, with seminars in different tents on food preparation, moose-hide tanning, herbal medicines, pow-wow demonstrations, tracking techniques, and traditional storytelling. Elders and translators worked together to bring traditional knowledge to children and open up dialogue.

Great singers and performers from Moosefactory to Winnipeg entertained the crowd. Remedy, Aboriginal Music Award winners of 2003, headlined the event.

Greg Spence, Creefest Coordinator, was happy with the success of the event this year. He thanked Peetabek Health Centre and staff for their support, volunteers, and surrounding communities.