A homeland for the Cree: Regional development in James Bay, by Richard F. Salisbury

By Richard F. Salisbury

A place of birth for the Cree is a useful learn of ways the 1st James Bay venture used to be negotiated among the Cree and the Quebec govt. Richard Salisbury follows the negotiations which begun in 1971 and analyses the alterations to Cree society over a ten-year interval in mild of the local improvement in James Bay.

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The dormitory facilities that had housed primary pupils from other 37 Village-band Society in 1971 coastal settlements were less needed for this purpose, since local schools offered more primary education in each village; the major dormitory (and foster parent) operations were turned over to housing the first two grades of secondary schooling. Fort George became the educational centre of the region. It can be seen from this sketch that it was never possible for villages to plan and provide for their own schooling; they controlled the resources neither to build the schools nor to recruit and hire their own teachers.

The summer, when all families lived close together near the post, was both a time for social interaction and a time for preparing for next winters hunting. Preparing equipment, collecting supplies, repairing old materials, and, above all, deciding who would form part of the next winter's hunting group took place at this season. Making the decision was in fact the task of the "tallyman" - the particular individual of the family "owning" each hunting territory who was deemed to be in ritual contact with the spiritual "Masters of the Animals" of the area, and whose name was usually recorded in the official Quebec Beaver Preserve registry.

Each province had a regional headquarters administering all bands in the province, Quebec City being the regional administrative centre for the Cree, though only a few years previously the coastal Cree communities had been administered through Moosonee, Ontario. The majority of Cree villages formed part of the Abitibi District with a District Office in Val d'Or; Great Whale was in Northern Quebec District; until 1969 Mistassini had formed part of the Pointe Bleue District. Both Abitibi and Pointe Bleue districts included numbers 33 Village-band Society in 1971 of non-Cree bands located much closer to the District Office, and visited more often by the District Officer; in both districts the bands closer to the offices had higher educational levels, and more of the members of those bands were employed in the offices, albeit mainly at clerical levels.

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