Walter James Hughboy lost the fight against cancer on April 2, 2004 at 11:00 p.m. at the Ottawa General Hospital. He left this world peacefully, and did not suffer long.
Hughboy was born November 11, 1946 at Poplar River, 30 km south of Wemindji. He is survived by wife Deborah Hawken, children; Sarah, Timothy and Nicholas and one grandchild; Trinity. He is also survived by his father Rev. Sam Hughboy, his brothers; Ernie, Wyms and Sammy, his sisters; Nancy, Jacqueline, Betsy, Doreen and Christine as well as many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, and predeceased by mother Sarah Visitor Hughboy and brother the late Matthew Hughboy.
Walter first attended school at the age of six at Bishop Horden Residential School in Moose Factory, Ontario. He went on to finish elementary at Shinwauk Residential School in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. From there, he went on to Sault Tech High School also in Sault Ste. Marie. Walter later attended Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario and then went on to the University of Alberta.
He married Deborah on March 26, 1974 in Wemindji, Quebec. They both went on to attend Queen’s University in Kingston to study law.
Walter Hughboy was elected Chief of the Cree Nation of Wemindji in September 1978 until September 1999. He served for seven consecutive terms as Chief of Wemindji.
He was also one of the founding members of the following companies and became President on the following dates:
Sakami Eeyou Corporation-July 1979
Tawich Development Corporation-August 1987
Tawich Construction Inc.-July 1990
CreeNet Inc.-August 1997
Wemindji Exploration Inc.-August 1999
Kepa Transport Ltd.-October 1996
Beesuum Petroleum-October 1996
Air Wemindji Inc.-1991
Whapchiwem Helicopters Ltd.-March 1998
He played a leading role in the M.O.U. with the Quebec Government with regards to capital projects such as the paving of the community, drainage, landscaping, recreational complex, aerated lagoon and water reservoir projects.
Walter played a big role in the Sakami Lake Agreement, La Grande Agreement and the Opimiscow Agreement as he was one of the negotiators.
He also played a major role in capital projects such as the arena, access road, mini-dam, and housing and infrastructure.
The late Walter Hughboy had accomplished so many tasks in his lifetime that it would take a lot of time to list and go through each and every one. He was a major part of the Cree Nation of Wemindji.