ARTICLES BY Boyce Richardson

Remembering Sam

An amazing old man, Sam Blacksmith, the central figure in the National Film Board film, Cree Hunters of Mistassini, died May 14, at the age of, at least, 97. He is one of the last remaining Cree hunters with a full knowledge of the bush life, men and women who had ... read more ››

The $1.4 billion deal: a victory, or a defeat?

Ever since the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement was forced on the James Bay Crees in the mid-1970s, it cannot be said that they have been treated generously by Canadian governments, provincial or federal. As that deal was being signed, the $16 billion James Bay Hydro Project was already being ... read more ››


The recent victory of a Metis hunter in Ontario, establishing the Supreme Court’s opinion that the Metis have the full rights of Aboriginal people in Canada takes me back more than 30 years to my first contacts with Metis leaders in Albert and the West. For many generations, isolated Metis leaders ... read more ››

My Thoughts on 2003: We Are the Worst Species

Homo sapiens, as my wife constantly says, is the worst species on Planet Earth — violent, self-destructive, selfish, greedy, prone to self- delusion, utterly careless about other species and their space, and insouciant about our common right, on Planet Earth, to continue to exist. I have been alive for seven decades, ... read more ››

Some Imprisoned, Some Released – BC Courts Look at Neskonlith Protesters Against Sun Peaks Ski Resort Expansion

The courts in British Columbia seem in the last few weeks to have been heading in contradictory directions in regard to the Neskonlith campaign against the expansion of the Ski Peaks resort. In one decision a [provincial court has imprisoned four Shuswap protesters, making them, in Chief Arthur Manuel’s words, ... read more ››

A Different Look at Politics

I make my formal declaration: I am an Experimental Farm nationalist I decided a few years ago that I am an Experimental Farm nationalist. This decision to pledge myself to fight for a piece of land, if necessary, even if it is only 1,100 acres, has come late in life, ... read more ››

Algonquins/Canada/Quebec/U.N.’s Mix

My old friends, the Barrière Lake Algonquins, take their heroic struggle to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues The opening session of the United Nations’ Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has focused international attention on the looming land battle in the territory of the Algonquins of Barrière Lake. Nearly ... read more ››

B.C treaty referendum a shoddy procedure that is unworthy of Canadian politics

Years ago when I was living in England a satirical television show conducted a poll of public opinion that exploded the myth of the objectivity of polls. By cunningly phrasing the questions to obtain the results they wanted, they managed to get a huge majority of people to agree with ... read more ››

AFN study reveals extraordinary gov’t obfuscation, deceit and slieght of hand in regards to aboriginal policy

A legal study endorsed by the Assembly of First Nations of the federal government’s much-disputed policy requiring that all Indian claims, titles, and rights be extinguished as part of any land claims settlement, establishes an extraordinary existing situation. The study says the federal policy has been outflanked by a series ... read more ››

An extraordinary 1,200 KM walk

A Cree man called Solomon Awashish, from a well-known Mistissini family, has inspired, planned and brought off a remarkable walk that is underway in the Cree wilderness of northern Quebec, as part of a major campaign against the crippling disease diabetes. A group of up to 50 Cree people has been ... read more ››

25 Years of Force-fed Acculturation: the Crees of James Bay Have Achieved Remarkable Things

In 1971 when the James Bay Hydro project was announced by Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa, 6,000 Crees were hunting and trapping around the rivers running into James Bay, as they had been doing since time immemorial. Only a handful among them, the younger ones, had been to any kind of ... read more ››

Algonquins of Barriere Lake – Ignored by Minister, Vow to Stop All Logging on Their Lands

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake, a small reserve 280 kilometres north of Ottawa, who have been in the capital city for the last two weeks trying to force either the minister or deputy-minister of Indian Affairs to meet with them, have had to retreat to their home base, without having ... read more ››

Editorialists Frothing at the Mouth as they Denounce the Anti-racist Conference, and Matthew Coon Come

From one side of Canada to the other, that happy band of brothers, the editorial writers, are joined in condemning the anti-racism conference in Durban as “absurd”, “phony”, or “hypocritical”. A typical comment is from the Colonist in Victoria, B.C.: “Talk about a nightmare: a conference of racists and xenophobes set ... read more ››

First Nations Reject New Government Round-de-lay, Designed to Strip Them of Their Rights

When I first began writing about Aboriginal people in Canada in 1968, the federal government had just concluded one of its periodic “consultations” with “the Indians” that had taken them two years, and had resulted in the publication of 25 or 30 big red books. In these books were printed, ... read more ››

Quebec Government’s Violation of Law Costing Crees at least $105 Million a Year, They Say

The Crees of James Bay in Quebec (Eeyou Istchee) estimate that a minimum of $105,124,000 in subsidies are granted to Quebec logging companies every year because of the failure of the Quebec government to implement environmental and social provisions of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. They say this figure ... read more ››

Citizen’s Guide to Aboriginal Title: Why the Federal Government is Trying to Kill it

Until recently, like, I suppose, most Canadians, I was not aware of the difference between the concepts of Aboriginal Title, and Aboriginal Rights. I have always been aware that our legal system has made what seemed like an unfair distinction between an Aboriginal right to the land, and the right ... read more ››

An Offensive Party?

I find most of what the Alliance stands for offensive, but nothing rivals its policy towards Aboriginal people in sheer, blatant offensiveness. In essence, the Alliance policy proposes to ignore the law as it applies to Aboriginal people. They make no such proposition in relation to white people, only to Aboriginal ... read more ››

A hunter talks about the river

(Reprinted from the book Strangers Devour the Land, written by Boyce Richardson, 1991.) Wnen we returned from checking the nets, we gathered again in the teepee for an on-camera interview with Job (Bearskin). Mary (his wife) began to clean some fish, Job sat on his heels his back straight, the young ... read more ››

No one can predict anything

One night Philip [Awashish] and I recorded a long conservation with the three hunters. I asked how they felt when they heard that white men regarded the land on which they live as worthless and empty. “They are saying,” said Philip after a good deal of conversation, “that the white man’s ... read more ››

Ingenious, impersonal machines

The day after we returned from the river we headed inland again, but this time in a helicopter, the commercial charge for which, if we had had to pay it, would have been something like $700 for the 70-mile flight. A young pilot efficiently hauled us into the air, and ... read more ››

Tribute to Isaiah Awashish

A remarkable man, in fact, one of the most extraordinary men in Canada, died this week. He was not known much outside of the rivers, lakes and forest country in which he made his home; his death will not be noticed in the obituary columns of the nation’s newspapers; but ... read more ››