Location and Population
Treaties were made with all except the Québec Cree; although promises of protection were made, the treaties gave the federal and provincial governments the power to intervene in Cree traditional culture. Government services, health programs and education, including residential schooling, were usually administered through the missionaries and traders until the middle of the 20th century. Residential schools left two lasting legacies. The first was a result of the separation of children from their families and communities, which prevented the children from developing within their culture. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a formal apology in 2008 for this legacy of harm. The second legacy was the acquisition of bi-cultural skills that have provided Aboriginal people with the basis for political and administrative self-government.
Corporate exploitation of natural resources in the 20th century has brought the most radical changes. In Québec, the JAMES BAY AND NORTHERN QUÉBEC AGREEMENT for the James Bay hydroelectric project required a treaty which was negotiated during the 1970s and provided the first step in Aboriginal self-government for the Québec Cree. Since then, a series of further agreements between the Cree of Québec, the provincial government and the federal government have followed. The Cree have also been central to UN negotiations, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).
There are several Cree who have had a national role in furthering the aims of Aboriginal people of Canada, including ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS chiefs Noel Starblanket, David Ahenakew, Ovide MERCREDI, and Matthew CoonCome.
Author RICHARD J. PRESTON
D. Ahenakew, Voices of the Plains Cree (1977); J. Helm, ed, Handbook of North American Indians, vol 6: Subarctic (1981); D. Mandelbaum, The Plains Cree (1979); R. Preston, Cree Narrative: Expressing the Personal Meanings of Events (2002); T. Morantz, The White Man's Gonna Getcha (2002).
Links to Other Sites
Edmonton in Our Own Words
Read online excerpts from "Edmonton in Our Own Words," a book that chronicles the history of Edmonton, Alberta. From Google Books.
The website for the Historica-Dominion Institute, parent organization of The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Check out their extensive online feature about the War of 1812, the "Heritage Minutes" video collection, and many other interactive resources concerning Canadian history, culture, and heritage.
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
A brief history of the Cree peoples in Canada. Check the menu on the left side of the page for more information. From albertasource.ca.
Through the Eyes of the Cree
View video clips and an extensive collection of art by Cree artist Allen Sapp that depict the life and culture of the Northern Plains Cree. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Arctic String Figure Project
Try creating these traditional arctic string figures. From the International String Figure Association.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
The website for the Galafilm documentary series "CHIEFS," which is devoted to the life stories of First Nations leaders, including Sitting Bull, Pontiac, Joseph Brant, Black Hawk, and Poundmaker.
Languages of Canada
A comprehensive online database of languages currently in use in Canada. Also provides details about extinct languages. Check out the "language maps" for more information. Based on "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition." From SIL International, a US website.
Fort Battleford National Historic Site
This Parks Canada site commemorates the 1876 North West Mounted Police headquarters in Battleford, Saskatchewan. Includes detailed notes about Big Bear, Poundmaker, the Cree, Sir Frederick Dobson Middleton, North-West Rebellion, the Battle of Cut Knife, and related topics.
Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre
An extensive online information source about the history, traditions, and languages of First Nations peoples in Saskatchewan.
Take a virtual tour of the new Oujé-Bougoumou community facilities. Features stunning architectural designs by renowned Canadian architect Douglas J. Cardinal.
Papaschase: A family memoir by Dwayne Donald
A brief account of the history of the Papashase peoples as told by an ancestor of the Papashase community. From the Edmonton Public Library. This site covers the history of treaty negotiations with First Nations peoples in the Edmonton area. From the Edmonton Public Library.
OurVoices - Stories of Canadian People and Culture
An superb online audio collection of traditional stories about the Omushkego (Swampy Cree) people of northern Manitoba and Ontario. Presented in Cree and in English by Louis Bird, storyteller and elder. Also features printed transcripts and other resources. From the Centre for Rupert's Land Studies at the University of Winnipeg.
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.
This series is the saga of five great First Nations chiefs -- Sitting Bull, Pontiac, Joseph Brant, Black Hawk and Poundmaker. Their stories form a central drama of the history of the North American continent. Features still photos and video clips. A National Film Board website.
A superb multimedia website dedicated to native dance traditions from coast to coast in Canada. Features audio and video clips, in-depth interviews and articles for students, the image research database for scholars, downloadable resource kits for teachers, and more. Produced by Carleton University and The Sumner Group Inc., with the assistance of many other organizations and contributors.
This site is intended as a resource for Cree language teachers, literacy instructors, translators, linguists, and anyone who has an interest in the nuts and bolts of the Cree language.
Voices from Hudson Bay: Cree Stories from York Factory
A review of the book "Voices from Hudson Bay: Cree Stories from York Factory" which chronicles "the experiences of Cree people who lived in or about York Factory in the first half of the twentieth century." From the website for the Manitoba Historical Society.
A Story of Beat Meat (Pemmican)
Peruse this article about pemmican, the dried and powdered meat of the buffalo, which became the staple food of the fur trade from Rainy Lake to the Rockies. From the website for the Manitoba Historical Society.
James Bay Project and the Cree
A CBC feature about the political, social, and economic issues concerning the James Bay hydroelectric project and the James Bay Cree.
The Beaver Hills Country: A History of Land and Life
Read an illustrated online book by Graham A. MacDonald that documents the ecology and the human history of the region of Alberta between the North Saskatchewan and the Battle Rivers. Offers details about local indigenous peoples, Métis, and European immigrants.
History and Archaeology of Cumberland House
A detailed history and archaeology of Cumberland House accompanied by learning activities, a timeline, brief glossary, and an extensive bibliography. From “The Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture.”
The website for the Town of The Pas, one of the oldest settlements in northern Manitoba. Provides information about local sites and services, and an overview of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, a Swampy Cree community located near The Pas.
Games of the Plains Cree
This site explores the sports and games played by the Plains Cree Indians. From Library and Archives Canada.
The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement
See the full text of the The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. From the website for the Grand Council of the Crees.
This biography of Blackfoot chief Issap'mahkikaaw (Crowfoot) covers his relationship with the Hudson’s Bay Company, white fur-traders, missionaries, and more. From the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online."
Norway House Cree Nation
The website for the Norway House Cree Nation. Provides information for local contacts and programs.