The Eeyou of Eeyou Istchee

Eeyou Istchee—our Nation, our communities and our people.

The Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee

We call ourselves Eeyou. Our land—Eeyou Istchee—which means the People’s Land, comprises eleven Cree communities and over three hundred “traplines,” or traditional family hunting and trapping grounds. Our traditional territory, an area of over 400, 000 square kilometres, or two-thirds the size of France, is located primarily in northern Quebec and includes the lands on the eastern shore of James Bay and south-eastern Hudson Bay, as well as the lakes and rivers that drain into them. In addition, our traditional territory includes lands which we have historically occupied in Ontario, across the Ontario-Quebec border.

Cree First Nation Communities

Each Eeyou First Nation has its very own special and unique history. We are united through our common interests, traditional values and shared culture.

Each of our First Nations is administered independently through their local governments, and at the same time, each elected Chief sits on the Board of Directors of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Council of the Cree Nation Government to address common Cree Nation issues. There are currently nine Cree communities incorporated into our Treaty—the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. The tenth Cree First Nation, Washaw Sibi, is in the process of establishing its own community and will eventually become part of the Treaty. The eleventh First Nation is MoCreebec, whose members reside on the Ontario side of James Bay and maintain a unique affiliation with the other Eeyou First Nations.

 

Visit a Cree Community:

Whapmagoostui

Whapmagoostui is the northernmost community located at the mouth of the Great Whale River on the coast of Hudson Bay in Nunavik. It’s home to approximately to 960 Cree and 740 Inuit in the adjacent village of Kuujjuarapik. Whapmagoostui means the Place of the Whales. The Chief of Whapmagoostui is Louisa Wynne.

Chisasibi

Cree for Great or Big River, Chisasibi sits on the south shore of the La Grande River on the Coast of James Bay and is the second northernmost Cree community in Eeyou Istchee. The current population of Chisasibi is nearly 5,000 people. The Chief of Chisasibi is Davey Bobbish.

Wemindji

Wemindji is located at the mouth of the Maquatua River and is the third northernmost community located on the coast of James Bay. It is home to approximately 1 400 Crees. Wemindji is Cree for Paint Hills or Red Ochre Mountain. The Chief of Wemindji is Christina Gilpin.

Eastmain

Eastmain is located on the east coast of James Bay and on the shore of the Eastmain River. Eastmain is named after the Hudson Bay trading post that was originally located on the north shore of the Eastmain River. It is home to approximately 750 residents. The Chief of Eastmain is Kenneth Cheezo.

Waskaganish

Waskaganish is located at the mouth of the Rupert River on the south-east shore of James Bay. It is home to 2 500 people. Waskaganish is Cree for Little House. The Chief of Waskaganish is Darlene Cheechoo.

Nemaska

Nemaska is one of the inland communities located on the shores of Lake Champion and is where the head office of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Cree Nation Government is located. It has a population of approximately 820 people. Nemaska is Cree for Place of Plentiful Fish. The Chief of Nemaska is Thomas Jolly.

Waswanipi

Waswanipi is the most southern inland community located along the Waswanipi River. It is home to approximately 2,150 people. Waswanipi is Cree for Light on the Water. The Chief of Waswanipi is Marcel Happyjack.

Oujé-Bougoumou

Oujé-Bougoumou is one of the inland communities located along the shore of Lake Opemiska. It is home to approximately 870 people. Oujé-Bougoumou is Cree for the Place Where People Gather. The Chief of Oujé-Bougoumou is Curtis Bosum.

Mistissini

Mistissini is one of the inland communities located along the shore of Lake Mistassini. It is home to approximately 3 500 people. Mistissini is Cree for Big Rock. It is where the main offices for the Cree School Board, the Cree Human Resources Development Department, and Eeyou Istchee’s regional radio station, the James Bay Cree Communications Society are located. The Chief of Mistissini is Richard Shecapio.

Washaw Sibi

Washaw Sibi was recognized as the tenth Cree Nation Community at the 2003 Annual General Assembly of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Cree Nation Government and is currently made up of 350 members. Washaw Sibi is Cree for the river that runs into the bay. The Chief is Pauline Trapper-Hester.

MoCreebec

MoCreebec Eeyoud is the eleventh Cree First Nation to be recognized by the Cree Nation Government. MoCreebec’s membership is comprised of the Crees of Eeyou Istchee who reside or have resided in Moose Factory or Moosonee. The Chief of MoCreebec is Allan Jolly.