Another tournament has come and gone.

I hope everyone had a safe and fun time.

The tournament means different things to different people. It’s a time to play hockey, to watch, to meet old friends and make new ones from around the nation, to go Christmas shopping and, of course, to enjoy

Now just what does it mean for the people of Val d’Or? They know we come every year, but what does it actually mean to them? Is it the time when those “rich” Crees come to town to blow all their money? Is it the time when those Crees come down from the bush to take up all the rooms in town? Is it the time when “all those Crees” come to drink?

One time in Val d’Or, I was downtown sitting in a car when I saw someone I knew staggering down the street, totally drunk. He was creating quite a ruckus trying to walk down the street, with people jumping out of the way to avoid him. The people who saw him that one day will remember him that way.

Today, this person has quit drinking and is starting to regain his composure and his pride. I see him in town as he is, just a normal regular guy throughout the year.

But what will the people remember from that one weekend? The mother making her way from shop to shop buying presents for her children, or the one they had to step aside for? In truth, probably both. But that’s about all.

I know the annual tournament is a time for good fun, and that a lot of people wait all year for a chance to party it up. But isn’t it unfortunate that the people of Val d’Or don’t get to see the Cree people during the rest of the year? They don’t see us in our own communities, when we’re just regular people who work at normal jobs, going to school, or out on the land.

Does the guy who was staggering down the street do this every day? For the population of Val d’Or; that’s the only way they’ll see him. And the mother. Is she only a shop-till-you-drop consumer?

The tournament is a long-standing institution, and I wouldn’t suggest changing it a bit. But shouldn’t the Crees share with our neighbours some of the more fundamental aspects of our culture? We must ask ourselves if we want to be known only for hockey and broomball, partying and shopping.

These are hardly what we believe are own culture to be, but in Val d’Or, that’s all they know of us.

When we leave the urban world of Val d’Or behind to return to our own lands, to step back into our communities and culture, do they see our feasts, our music, our walking-out ceremonies, our communal interaction – our real lives?

We can bring much, much more to Val d’Or – or anywhere else for that matter. Yes, let’s bring our sports and our celebratory spirit, but let’s also remember, we can bring something of our culture, too.

We are hockey players, broomball players, and shoppers, just like the people of Val d’Or. But we are also hunters and trappers, cooks, dancers, singers, fiddle players and artists – just like the people of Val d’Or.

Next year, let’s remember who we are. And let’s remember to bring it with us and show it off.


Just a few notes from the last issue. Some readers might have recieved our first issue a bit late. We are still working on our distribution. We apologize for any inconveniences. Also, we are trying to get a hold of Cree fonts for our computer so we can start printing in syllabics. Finally, we’re taking a couple of weeks off for Christmas. Our next issue will come out January 19. ‘Till then, all the best for the holidays from the staff of The Nation.


Due to a technical error, an unfortunate mistake appeared in our interview with Grand Chief Matthew Coon-Come in our previous edition. The following statement on page 13 appeared as a comment made by Coon-Come when in fact it was a question posed by The Nation to Coon-Come: “We actually tried getting hold of one of the annual reports and were told that while the Grand Council was a public entity, Cree Construction was not. Is this the manner in which our entities serve the Crees?” Coon-Come’s response was: “We are public companies. That’s what we’ve said all along.” We apologize for any inconvenience the error may have caused.