Volume 6, Issue 17

16 convicted of poaching

Sixteen individuals in Chibougamau and Roberval have been found guilty on various poaching charges and fined $62,429, according to Quebec’s Wildlife Conservation Service. These are the highest fines ever imposed in Northern Quebec for wildlife offenses. The 16 were found guilty of 63 charges in all. They are: Robert Martel (16 charges, ... read more ››

A Graduation in Attawapiskat

I’m dedicating this column to hope. This hope is demonstrated with the graduation of young people in the school system in my home community of Attawapiskat, Ont. For graduates in this remote First Nation of about 2,000 people are extremely important and represent hope. The history of education for First Nation ... read more ››

Action film alert

Fantasia is back. North America’s biggest Asian, action, kungfu, fantasy, horror and thriller film festival is back in Montreal for the fourth year. The program’s not out yet, but past years have seen a mind-blowing collection of larger-than-life action and kung fu films. This year, it’s expanding to two downtown theatres, the ... read more ››

Clinton visit doesn’t impress Sioux

U.S. President Bill Clinton paid a visit the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation earlier this month with promises to find a way to “fix this” economic crisis plaguing the Lakota community. With an unemployment rate of 73 per cent and a lack of running water in some homes, Clinton was here to ... read more ››

Cree sues for $1.5B

Raphael Cree, a 106-year-old Cree from Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta, is suing the federal government for $1.5 billion as compensation for mineral rights on their land. “He wants to go back to the reserve and that’s why he’s here,” said his son, Elmer. Cree and 50 other members of the Paul ... read more ››

Eastmain Celebrates

Tiny Eastmain sure knows how to throw a giant party. The official opening for the “Stajun Mamougoomg” sports and community complex was the reason for one such bash on the 21st of June. After several years working for this day, walking several hudred kilometres from Eastmain to Vald’Or, or was ... read more ››

How quickly they forget

I would sure hate to be Lucien Bouchard right about now, especially if it was time for a check-up. “Please cough for me, Mr. Bouchard…” Not a good position to be in. Even in the best of times being a nurse is not an easy job to go into. The working ... read more ››


The following is the graduation speech given to the Class of ’99 by Robert Weistche, Chairman of the Cree School Board, in Wemindji on June 25. -Ed. Watchia!! I thank the organizers of this ceremony for inviting me here today. I would like to congratulate the class of 1999 graduates in ... read more ››

In loving memory of a dear friend

Dear friend. Today is just another day to many, but it is a special one for me. You see, I never got a chance to say goodbye. You left so suddenly but I kept hoping to see you again. I felt such a sense of ultimate desolation and isolation. I didn’t ... read more ››

Injunction to be sought to halt logging

Crees are going to court to demand an injunction on forestry activities in Iyiyuuschii after negotiations with Quebec collapsed with no deal. Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come and the Cree chiefs decided last week to request two so-called interlocutory injunctions, one against the province and Ottawa, and the other targetting two ... read more ››

James Bay II?

Five of the Cree chiefs have signaled they want to split off from the Grand Council of the Crees and hold their own talks with Hydro-Quebec on the proposed Eastmain-Rupert hydro-electric project. In this letter, they explain their reasons. They thank Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come for respecting their “autonomy,” ... read more ››

Mr. Green-Thumb

“Always remember the beauty of the garden, for there is peace.” – Author Unknown One of the problems frequently seen in Cree communities is the lack of proper landscaping or lawn management. Not surprising considering Crees were hunter-gathers rather than farmers. A shortage of housing also meant that resources went to putting ... read more ››

Off-shore islands lawsuit dropped

The Grand Council of the Crees has dropped its lawsuit to prevent the transfer of the offshore islands to Nunavut. It isn’t giving up claim to the islands, but will try to settle the issue in negotiations. Cree and Nunavut representatives have met to discuss the dispute and a meeting will be ... read more ››

Ontario Métis election

Tony Belcourt has been reelected as president of the Métis Nation of Ontario with 730 votes, compared to 344 for runner-up Brad Maggrah. About 1,100 Métis people voted out of the 5,000 members. Also elected were Gary Lipinski of Fort Frances as chair, France Picotte of Timmins as co-chair, Lawrence Gladue ... read more ››

Shelter raising funds

The Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal is launching its fundraising campaign – Circle of Friends – on July 24 at the Chalet du Mont Royal. The Queen Elizabeth Hotel will cater a meal inspired by traditional Aboriginal cuisine. Elders will share their teachings, film-maker Alanis Obomsawin is the keynote speaker and ... read more ››

St. Anne’s Anna Wesley found guilty

Moose Factory resident and Catholic nun Anna Wesley, 72, pled not guilty to charges of administering a noxious substance and assault, but was convicted on May 10. A Sudbury judge decided the Cree nun who forced children at Fort Albany’s St. Anne’s residential school to eat their own vomit will face ... read more ››

Tensions high over forestry

Blockade season has hit with a bang in Northern Quebec and forestry is at the heart of the tensions – from Cree land to Algonquin. In Waswanipi, reports are coming in that youth and trappers are itching to hit the barricades. “Everyone’s a walking timebomb,” said one resident. “If we get ... read more ››

Wayne Polson: Artist

Algonquin artist Wayne Poison smiles when recalling his first sale: a wooden Indian face trimmed with beaver fur. The American tourist’s well-spent three dollars were well-spent in turn by the six-year-old artist at the local chip stand. Poison began carving at the impossibly young age of five in his hometown of ... read more ››

We are aboard the Polar Bear Express…

We are aboard the Polar Bear Express, George and I. There are no polar bears to speak of on this line that runs daily between Moosonee and Cochrane every summer. They named this train run so because polar bears were considered more glamorous and exotic than the black bears that ... read more ››