The annual celebration at Nemaska Lake was cut short this year because of a forest fire. Nobody was injured, but the gathering that was supposed to take place July 11-24 was stopped July 15 at the request of the SOPFEU and the band council. The fire began July 12 after a lightning storm, and the council quickly assembled a fire crew to protect the site. The area had to be evacuated because of smoke-related concerns. Eventually the fire burned down far from the site on the Western edge. The band council is deciding when the activities will resume.
Old Nemaska Days began over 15 years ago as a day school trip and quickly turned into a community event. Now the gathering draws large crowds to partake in games and food at the traditional site, once a popular trading post as well as home to the Cree traders, whose summer home was Nemaska Lake.
With the departure of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1970 the town dissolved. The village was eventually relocated in 1980, outside of the flooded areas resulting from the James Bay Hydro project. In 1990 the Radisson-Nicolet-des-Cantons (RNDC) opened up a road to the lake that has allowed residents the opportunity to return to their traditional home in remembrance of the past.