two years. Both Poundmaker and Big Bear died shortly after their release from prison, reportedly broken and bitter men. CONTEMPORARY CREE: Although Cree numbers have decreased because of many epidemics from diseases introduced by non-Indians over the years and a continuing low birthrate, tribal members are still widespread in Canada, having reserve lands in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. The Cree also share a reservation with the CHIPPEWA (OJIBWAY) in Montana, the Rocky Bay Chippewa-Cree Reservation. The Cree struggle for land rights has continued to modern times. Cree people living on both sides of the Husdon Bay--now known as East Main Cree and West Main Cree--lost a huge expanse of territory during the James Bay I hydroelectric project, first announced in 1971 and carried out over subsequent years. The building of La Grande Dam and Reservior in northern Quebec in order to provide power to Canadian and U.S. communities to the south resulted in the flooding of some 7,500 square miles of traditional Cree and INUIT territory. The James Bay II project, the Great Whale Project, which would have flooded 2,000 square miles, was blocked in 1994 through the work of allied First Nations (as native groups in Canada are known) and environmental organizations, such as the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society. (The revelation that the flood waters resulting from the first project had released natural mercury from the soil and polluted the waters and made the eating of fish from the region dangerous, and the cancellation of the New York Power contract with Hydro-Quebec, spurred on by activists, helped the process.) Yet there has been renewed talk of a revised hydroelectric project along the Great Whale River. The Cree and their allies must be ever vigilant in protecting their homelands.
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- Fall '15
- History, Quebec, Hudson's Bay Company, Cree