ARTICLES BY Steve Bonspiel

Respect is a 2-way street

The fight between the Grand Council and the Municipalité de la Baie James has heated up recently as Cree policing, the Red Chute project and the proposed Cox Cree Lodging Camp have hit snags in some form or another from jealous or ignorant non-Natives. Being a Cree in what can be ... read more ››

Respect is a two-way street

The fight between the Grand Council and the Municipalité de la Baie James has heated up recently as Cree policing, the Red Chute project and the proposed Cox Cree Lodging Camp have hit snags in some form or another from jealous or ignorant non-Natives. Being a Cree in what can be ... read more ››

Eastmain election referendum fails: Dispute between Brown and Mayappo leads council to call vote

They say too many chefs spoil the broth. The community of Eastmain is proving that when two chiefs stir the soup too long and too hard, the whole kitchen can come crashing down. Now the community of Eastmain will decide if a new election can improve the band council’s political recipe. Chief ... read more ››

MBJ mayors fight Cree police: Presentations to government committee shows deep opposition to policing deal

The non-Native opposition to employing Cree officers to police Cree lands was taken to a new level in late January as mayors of the Municipalité de la Baie James (MBJ) pleaded with Quebec MNAs to defeat Bill 54, the amendment to Quebec’s Police Act that would enable effective policing of ... read more ››

Spotlight on churches: Search for missing residential school children heats up

Defrocked United Church Reverend Kevin Annett is challenging Canada’s churches to acknowledge and surrender the remains of an estimated 50,000 children who never returned home from residential schools. Reverend Annett, along with Ojibwa Chief Louis Daniels and Elder Jeremiah Jourdain presented a letter to Rector Glenn Dion of downtown Vancouver’s Holy ... read more ››

Violence in Cree schools: School board launches campaign to confront problem

The Cree School Board is not going to take the growing problem of youth violence lying down. In partnership with the Northern Quebec Teacher’s Association, the CSB will kick off a one-day violence-themed awareness campaign February 15. “There is a lot of vandalism and violence in the schools,” said Judith Michel, ... read more ››

Wemindji leads country in fight against diabetes

If they gave an award out for kicking butt for a great cause, Wemindji would win it hands down. The Cree communities of Wemindji, Waskaganish, Eastmain and Chisasibi have risen to the top in the uphill battle against diabetes by selling paper reindeer and sleighs to raise almost $35,000. Wemindji stands on ... read more ››

Debate rages over Nunavik land claim deal: Small financial package, impact on Cree lands discussed

The passing of Bill C-11 through the House of Commons this fall gives effect to the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement, but it has been hotly debated as either helpful or hurtful on both sides of the Inuit/Cree spectrum. In short, the agreement gives the Inuit more than $50 million for ... read more ››

Mistissini: 3 dead over New Year’s

A string of incidents has resulted in the deaths of three Mistissini residents. Police received a call around 6:30 am on New Year’s Day; a youth had taken his own life. Out of respect for the family, the Nation is not publishing his name at this time. “I felt sad,” said Mistissini ... read more ››

Never say die: Chapais mayor finds Poles to fund his pigs

Chapais Mayor Jacques Bérubé says he has found new European backing in his never-ending quest to establish an industrial-sized hog farm in his town. The Polish investment firm Lopata Investment Holding is currently funding a pork operation in Siberia, among many other ventures in 17 countries. The Chibougamau newspaper la Sentinelle ... read more ››

Grand Council labels MBJ chair a ‘racist’: Gérald Lemoyne says Crees are not competent to work as police officers

The chairman of the Municipalité de la Baie James doesn’t think Crees have what it takes to police their own territory. “They absolutely don’t have the competence right now for the work that we want to give them,” Lemoyne said in the December 3 edition of the Journal de Montréal. The ... read more ››

Shooting for the moon: Teenagers take aim at a better future at Aboriginal Youth Career Fair

Hundreds of high school students from across Canada arrived at Montreal’s Palais des Congres October 30 and hung out, text messaged and giggled their way to learning about potential careers at a rare job fair that was focused solely on the youth. The event also featured a lineup of Aboriginal role ... read more ››

A new ‘pipeline’ for Eeyou Istchee: Waswanipi Internet start-up looks to offer tech choices at competitive prices

The north is relatively uncharted territory when it comes to major technology choices, but Waswanipi’s Jonathan Saganash is looking to change that in the coming years by providing the Cree Nation with every aspect of new technology they could ever hope for. Saganash signed a deal in February with ISF, a ... read more ››

CIER greens communities: Matthew Coon Come helped found organization in 1994

The Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources helps Aboriginal communities in their uphill battle to become more environmentally responsible. Unfortunately, few Nation readers are familiar with their mission because the centre is located in Winnipeg. CIER does have Cree connections: former Cree Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come was a founding board member ... read more ››

Biggest ever Cree arts and music fest is a huge success in Chisasibi

The amount of talent in the Cree Nation is extensive; from sports to traditional pursuits to the arts, there is no shortage of it. A few months back Bertie Wapachee and Roy Neacappo decided to get together to help foster and promote their Cree artisans in hopes of creating the ... read more ››

Training future Cree business leaders – Sabtuan Continuing Education pioneers new way to learn

Good news for aspiring entrepreneurs in Eeyou Istchee; you can learn all about developing your business idea and writing your business plan from the comfort of your own home in an easily-accessible online course offered by Sabtuan Continuing Education. The course is given by Heritage College, based in Gatineau, Quebec and ... read more ››

Surf your way to fitness is a great way to energize those of you who want to work out, but have no one to go over a program with you because you live in a town that doesn’t offer those services. Elite track and field athlete David Gill, an Innu from Mashteuiatsh, started the program ... read more ››

Hero by Nature short film falls short

Hero by Nature is a tragic story with a confusing plotline. The 15-minute short film is set in the aftermath of the Oka crisis of 1990, when the Sûreté du Quebec stormed a peaceful blockade by Kanesatake Mohawks, a police officer died and a 78-day standoff ensued. The film has been doing ... read more ››

Beleaguered Kashechewan weighs future

After three evacuations in less than two years, an E.coli contamination in their drinking water and rampant mould in the community’s homes, the Cree community of Kashechewan on Ontario’s James Bay coast is in a downhill spiral. A 20-year-old man took his own life January 7 and a disproportionate number of ... read more ››

Waswanipi sawmill closed – again

Domtar deal blamed for putting 80 people out of work The crisis in Quebec’s forest industry has hit the Waswanipi sawmill. The mill officially suspended operations for the third time in its history on September 21 due to a sagging lumber market and poor economic outlook for the year, according to ... read more ››

Cree youth go to Montreal, watch football game, see penguins, eat, try zero gravity, get their van stolen, never get cranky, and love every minute of it

Over 200 Cree youth more used to seeing ptarmigan, caribou and beaver got up close and personal with a few new species recently, including penguins, alligators – and Alouettes. A caravan of three full school buses left Mistissini October 19 for a Canadian Football League match in Montreal in an ... read more ››

Chisasibi resident winning the fight against Diabetes

Chisasibi’s Sarah Louttit, 52, has had diabetes since 1991. At least, that’s when she was diagnosed during a stay at a treatment centre in the Gaspe town of Maria. Until then, she never thought about the disease and admitted that she knew very little. “I was in denial at first,” the ... read more ››

Khayden Otter-Rupert recovering after skull surgery

Brave. Inspiring. Heroic. These words best describe Khayden Otter-Rupert in his courageous battle to live. The little fighter from Waswanipi has been struggling for a normal life for over two-and-a-half years. During that time, he has had several surgeries to repair his heavily damaged skull. In the latest one, doctors removed two ... read more ››

Three communities to vote on EM 1-A – Nemaska, Waskaganish, Chisasibi look to halt Rupert diversion

The chiefs of the three communities that will be most affected by the EM1-A project are making an 11th hour stand against the diversion of the Rupert River. Waskaganish, Chisasibi and Nemaska adopted mandates recently to hold referenda by November 1 to give their community members a chance to accept or ... read more ››

The classroom in crisis – Mistissini’s school system deals with racism, high drop-out rates and cultural survival

The educational system in Mistissini – and by extension the Cree Nation – is in trouble. So deep, according to some, that it is only a matter of time before there is a major crisis. And it is not just the curriculum and the high absenteeism that is a concern. ... read more ››

Cree trappers look to a diminished future

The Cree Trapper’s and Hydro-Québec Conference, held in Val d’Or Sept. 14-16, was set up to get the trappers talking. The question is, was anyone listening? “It’s a way the trappers can network together and see what they got out of their individual meetings with hydro,” said Glen Cooper, the Cree ... read more ››