ARTICLES BY Brandon Judd

Protecting the herd

The Cree Regional Authority (CRA) and the Cree Trappers Association (CTA) have launched an initiative to raise awareness of the fast-diminishing woodland caribou herd. According to an independent study commissioned by the CRA, the woodland caribou population is falling sharply, especially among the eastern Temiscamie herd, whose territory has seen a ... read more ››

From foreclosure to sustainability

You’re not making your payments, so we’re going to have to take your truck – your business – from you. Kevin Blacksmith of Waswanipi heard this bouncing around in his head as he worked his snowplowing job on Route 113, and wondered if the work would pick up like the ... read more ››

Brightening the future

September is inevitability – the summer comes to a close and students head back to school. This routine defines a child’s life until he or she finishes their studies; the routine that comes after isn’t so clear. So, soon after the gleam of a new grade wanes and the grind ... read more ››

Last-minute triumph

On July 11, Kathleen Wootton sat with bated breath, waiting for the last two polling stations to submit their results for the Cree School Board Chairperson elections. She trailed her fellow nominee Kenny Blacksmith by just three votes, with only Eastmain and Mistissini results to come. Eastmain’s totals came in: ... read more ››

Learning to teach

Sitting in coveted shade at the Kahnawake Powwow, they looked like a group of old friends, joking around as they ate Indian Tacos, making silly faces for the camera. But just a week before, most of these young Cree leaders had never met each other; the only distance that trumped ... read more ››

Keep the linguistic balance

Parents and teachers at Mistissini’s Voyageur Memorial stood firm against a part of the new Cree School Board (CSB) plan that would have eliminated the school’s highly successful English reading program and potentially jeopardized high school students’ chances of graduating. The new plan, part of the CSB’s Cree Local School Improvement ... read more ››

Breaking ground for new school

  After years of wrangling and broken promises, residents of Attawapiskat gathered in glee on June 22 to watch the groundbreaking for their long overdue school. Dozens of residents stood, cheering or weeping, thank you signs dotting the crowd. The biggest honoree, mentioned in all speeches, was Shannen Koostachin, the student who, ... read more ››

New Cree nurses

  The inaugural class of Centre d’études collégiales à Chibougamau’s Cree-centric nursing program leapt towards certification earlier this month, as they posted a 100% success rate on their technical exit exam. The program is based on a mandate from the Cree Human Resources Department (CHRD), to meet the need for nurses in ... read more ››

Passing on the past

  Beesum Communications is launching its Legends series, which aims to immortalize the Cree legends by filming Elders telling the stories and posting them online. The initiative began in early 2011, after Cree expressed fears youth, who are less interested in the stories that have instructed and encapsulated Cree life for centuries, ... read more ››

Out of touch

  The union representing Cree School Board teachers has called into question the board’s five-year plan, stating they were not properly consulted in the drafting of the plan. “The teachers are the main people in charge of the success of the kids,” said Patrick D’Astous, president of the Association of Employees of ... read more ››

Expanding autonomy

Academics gathered at the “How to Break Out of Colonialism?” conference April 19 to discuss the role of federalism in Aboriginal struggles for self-determination and governance, where they spoke of Socrates, cooperating legal systems and, after official presentations concluded, the successes of the James Bay Cree. The Indigenous Peoples and Governance ... read more ››

Left out of the loop

  An Ontario Métis tribe prepares to take the Government of Ontario to trial in the coming months, accusing it of excluding them from negotiations for mining grants within their claimed territory. The Algonquin Woodland Métis Anishinabek Tribe (AWMAT) submitted a comprehensive claim to the Government of Ontario in 2009, arguing the ... read more ››

The future of Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations

  Despite its name, the “General Principles of Indigenous/Non-Indigenous Interactions” workshop was anything but general: it was specific, complex, varied and it provided attendees a wealth of information to consider. Academics who study Aboriginal affairs at some of Canada’s most prestigious universities gathered at the Indigenous Peoples and Governance (IPG) conference to ... read more ››

The next generation

The Cree Nation Youth Council prepares for its upcoming elections, which will produce a new Youth Grand Chief and Deputy Youth Grand Chief. Nomination forms were distributed to Youth Departments across Eeyou Itschee during the month of March. The nomination process – candidates were required to gather 10 supporting signatures – ... read more ››

Busy reading

Two years after starting the Success For All (SFA) program, teachers at the Voyageur Memorial School in Mistissini have seen their students’ reading skill improve by leaps and bounds. In September 2009, Voyageur Memorial started the SFA, a heavily researched literacy program formulated at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. They sent ... read more ››

No premium?

Members of one of Quebec’s largest union federations gathered outside the Ministry of Health in Montreal on March 15 for a rally criticizing the ministry’s budget plans for health and social workers in the North. The Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS-CSN) says that $25 million of last ... read more ››

Fear in the hallways

It’s an experience that can cause high blood pressure, and increase one’s chances for heart attacks and strokes. The stress and anxiety leads to drug and alcohol use, among other unhealthy habits. And it can all start with something as simple as “that shirt’s gay”. Elementary and high schools in the ... read more ››

Top cop

Less than a year after being named the first-ever Chief of the Eeyou Eenou Police Force, Reggie Bobbish was given another honour for his work: Police Officer of the Year. Bobbish received the award in December 2011 at the Dialogue for Life Conference, where he was one of a handful of ... read more ››

Strength in cooperation

Allan Vicaire sat at the McCord Museum last month, watching a story unfold that he thought he knew, and learning how much of his own history he still has the opportunity to discover. The project coordinator of the McGill Aboriginal Sustainability Project (ASP), Vicaire is leading an initiative at McGill ... read more ››

Join the force

  The Eeyou Istchee Cree took another step towards professionalizing their police force on January 23 with the start of the AEC Police Technology Program at Collège Ellis in Drummondville. The program is a partnership between the Eeyou Eenou Police Force (EEPF), Collège Ellis and the Cree School Board. Its goal is ... read more ››

Heart, head and hockey

Cree athletic programs will now have a unified plan for their future, as a new umbrella organization begins life with a mandate to expand programs and ensure the consistency and quality of sport and recreation activities among all communities in Eeyou Istchee. The Eeyou Istchee Sports and Recreation Association (EISRA) will ... read more ››