Welcome to our history section. Our community has a rich culture and heritage, being the oldest Cree community in the James Bay and an important historical site for the Cree Nation and Quebec. Our ancestors have travelled the land of Eeyou Istchee for generations and we are proud to maintain and enhance this legacy. As the birthplace of the Hudson Bay Company and the British fur trade in western Canada, Waskaganish stands at complex intersections between people, places and things that have helped create a nation. Our people have been and continue to be innovative actors deeply rooted in our local culture while looking towards global changes and opportunities that link us all.
Our people have left an important mark on the history of Quebec and Canada
Dr. Billy Diamond with Quebec premier Robert Bourassa and Inuit representatives after Quebec signed a hydro agreement with the Cree in James Bay.
Guided by the wisdom of our ancestors, the Waskaganish eenou have left an important mark on the history of Quebec and Canada. We have developed and managed our ecosystems for centuries, first as knowledgeable hunters and later as game wardens responsible for the regeneration of beavers almost wiped out by the fur trade. Leaders born and raised in our community have negotiated the first contemporary land claim agreement in the history of Canada (the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement) and have actively participated on the international scene to promote and protect Aboriginal rights, including the drafting of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We hope that you will find our past and our present just as inspiring and rich as we do, and while brief, we hope that this section will engage your imagination and entice you to visit and personally experience our contemporary Cree way of life in the bush or in the community.