About $95,000 was raised to fight a rare Cree brain disease in the Winter Journey fundraising campaign, which saw 42 people walk from as far as Waswanipi and Mistissini to Nemaska.
Ottawa refuses to fund research into Cree Leukoencephalitis (or Awaash Aahkusuwin Aakaa Chii Nitikuhtaach in Cree), which has claimed 21 children’s lives. Little is known about the disease, except that almost all its victims are Crees of Quebec. In children with the sickness, parts of the brain are missing.
The walkers from Waswanipi left on March 20, headed to Ouje-Bougoumou and met walkers from Mistissini before heading to Nemaska. They arrived April 8. The two groups were led by Abraham Ottereyes and James A. Gunner. (See page 17. Ed.)