Volume 19, Issue 6

A working Inspiration

  Maureen Awasish fell in love with heavy-duty equipment when she was a young girl going to work with her dad at the local mine. Few people expected a woman to be doing that type of work, but that is what Awashish has always wanted to do. After taking a 900-hour ... read more ››

Aboriginal education incentive award winners

  Every year since 2004, Canada Post has been handing out the Aboriginal Education Incentives Award to reward efforts to complete higher education programs and the efforts to improve life for one’s self and others. This year, Canada Post selected 24 recipients for the $1000 prize. The award winners come from communities ... read more ››

Back to the future

  Winter ice roads could be fading away and airships might be taking over. A report by the Conference Board of Canada is suggesting that hot-air blimps like the ones that dominated the skies in the 1920s and 1930s could serve remote First Nation communities. Experts and researchers are worried that warming ... read more ››

Balancing development with responsibility

  The people of Eeyou Istchee are blessed to be living among some of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth. Sometimes that blessing can be a curse, however. The land of Northern Quebec is also rich with natural resources. And wherever there is money to be made, problems inevitably arise. The Crees’ ... read more ››


  “Once upon a time, among the Arapaho, there was a group of highly respected young men who served as messengers. In the Arapaho language, we referred to them as ‘those that fly.’ They wore special moccasins. When they ran, it appeared that their feet did not touch the earth. – Arapaho ... read more ››

Chisasibi Chief to step down

  Abraham Rupert announced January 13 he will soon step down as Chisasibi Chief, citing health reasons. Rupert suffered a heart attack soon after his election in 2010, but returned to his post after a short time. He will remain chief through to March, then will officially vacate his position. “We are sad ... read more ››

Court recognizes rights of Métis and non-status Indians

A Federal Court ruling delivered January 8 obligates the Canadian government to expand its definition of rights-bearing Aboriginals to include Métis and non-status Indians. Federal Court Justice Michael Phelan stated in his decision the government should eliminate the “constitutional uncertainty surrounding these groups,” which affect about 600,000 people. The decision, which caps ... read more ››

Cree students to gather for elite briefing

Cree leaders will host a Roundtable for post-secondary students in Ottawa March 16 and 17. The Roundtable on Capacity Building will brief Cree post-secondary students about treaty agreements with the Canadian government and employment opportunities available to them. The Roundtable will be free for the 400 students that the Planning Committee ... read more ››

CREECO board nixes new structure – for now

  There were signs for a potential confrontation leading up to the Cree Regional Economic Enterprises (CREECO Inc.) board meeting in December. Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come’s plan to radically re-organize control of its business operations raised fears that the proposal would kill the fundamental principle of community control over Cree ... read more ››

Darlene Cheechoo elected to chair the CRA Board of Compensation

  It’s easy to forget how much one person can take upon them to grow their communities. Darlene Cheechoo is the reminder that one can achieve success through a career built on working for the Cree Nation. On December 20, the 21 members of the Cree Regional Authority’s (CRA) Board of Compensation ... read more ››

Deck the Bins

  Winter has settled in for the next few months and fresh blankets of snow are systematically covering most, if not all, of nature’s beautiful colours that we experience the rest of the year. This is not the case in Nemaska, however, thanks to a colourful public art project created by ... read more ››

Fatal plane crash highlights lack of emergency services

  Four people lost their lives January 10 in a plane crash at the North Spirit Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario. Three of the deceased were members of North Spirit Lake and nearby Native communities. AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo expressed sadness after the crash. “On behalf of the Assembly ... 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 ››

James Bay Hwy crash claims one

  Gordon Richard Blackned died in a head-on collision while travelling on the James Bay Highway January 10 after he lost control of his vehicle on icy roads. According to CBC North, the Sûreté du Québec was contacted regarding the collision near kilometre 174 of the highway at around 9:10 pm. Blackned had ... read more ››

Keeping busy in the cold

How did we ever get here? According to traditional business models, we did everything wrong. Our first issues were sent to the communities we wanted to serve with a few prayers and a lot of hope that they would actually arrive. One community member questioned whether we would be able ... read more ››

Meet the new boss Same as the old?

The appointment of Abitibi-Est MNA Élizabeth Larouche as Quebec’s PQ aboriginal affairs minister last September occurred with a minimum of comment, much less controversy. That might not be surprising since the approach of Larouche and her government toward First Nations appear to differ little from that of the previous Liberal ... read more ››

Phil Fontaine awarded Order of Canada

Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, will be appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his lifetime of public service. Phil Fontaine was born in Sagkeeng First Nation in 1944. He attended a residential school in his youth and later in his life voiced ... read more ››

Planning your career

In recent times, we have heard about the Plan Nord and about the opportunities it will bring to the Cree communities. This could include jobs in the health, mining or human resources sector, to name a few. Many people are thinking about whether there is a career opportunity for them. ... read more ››

Post-Secondary Survival Guide

  Every former student knows what it was like during those first few heady days at CEGEP or university. There was the excitement of discovery, new surroundings, possibilities of romance, and a major upswing in group activities (i.e., party on dudes and dudettes!). There was also the flip side: an unfamiliar ... read more ››

Taking the long view

Cree Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come is no stranger to a media storm. But when he joined several other Aboriginal leaders in a high profile and controversial meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper January 11, the media frenzy was at a fever pitch. A YouTube video posted just minutes after Coon ... read more ››

The Cree way

  A parent in Chisasibi recently wrote an open letter asking why the Cree School Board reduced the amount of Cree taught to her children. She wanted to know why the CSB “replaced” the Cree Language of Instruction Program (CLIP) with a formula of 50% Cree and 50% in French and/or ... read more ››

The Dog Project celebrates canine freedom

  A dog might be a man’s best friend, but each community has their own way of looking at that relationship. The first thing I noticed when I visited Waswanipi was the number of dogs that enjoyed complete freedom to roam the community. Being from the city this came as a ... read more ››

The dream catcher

I had a dream the other night. I was a little boy again. There I was, on the land back up on the James Bay coast. I could see the clear water of the Attawapiskat River below and the deep blue sky above with the burning yellow sun as white ... read more ››

The first Cree baby of 2013

On January 2, Valerie Rose Whiskeychan and Murphy Diamond celebrated the arrival of their third child, Lillianna La-thia Karla Rose Whiskeychan, the first Cree arrival of 2013. Valerie gave birth to Lillianna at the Val d’Or Hospital at 7:45 pm to a healthy baby weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces, or 3.51 ... read more ››

The IT wars

  A cell phone rings in the busy meeting room. People constantly arguing or agreeing with each other stop and search frantically to find the insistent phone. Finally, someone answers and disappears from the room. Another phone vibrates on the large polished-wood conference table, resonating and quietly demanding to be answered. After ... read more ››

The struggle for unity

The high drama surrounding the January 11 meeting between First Nations leaders and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has focused national attention on aboriginal issues but also highlighted deep divisions between the grassroots ground troops of the Idle No More movement and Native politicians. The frenzied and sometimes chaotic preparation for the ... read more ››

Training Days

  Whether you are interested in health care, entrepreneurship, or one of the promised thousands of jobs in the natural resource development boom that is supposed to transform Northern Quebec, there is no better time like the present to start training for a new career in Eeyou Istchee. Between the road building, ... read more ››

Wakiponi still Mobile Innovative media group survives federal funding cuts with a mandate for social change

  Ashoka Canada’s Changemakers Initiative has announced two early winners in its competition Inspiring Approaches to First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning. The early prizes, each worth $500, go to Québec’s Wapikoni Mobile, a travelling video and music workshop, and Ontario’s Aboriginal Student Links, a mentoring program for students of all ... read more ››

What the UN can and can’t do to help Canada’s First Nations

Recent appeals to the United Nations to get involved with First Nations issues have made headlines across Canada. Most widely discussed is the ongoing housing crisis in communities like Attawapiskat and the disappearance and killings of hundreds of Aborig   Recent appeals to the United Nations to get involved with First Nations ... read more ››