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Cree Nation of Waskaganish

Pronunciation Wah-SKA-guhn-ish
Population 1,832
Location Mouth of Rupert River
Other Names

Rupert's House, Rupert House, Ft. Rupert, Ft. Charles

Founded at the legendary site of the first Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) post, established in 1668 and called Ft. Charles, making it the site of one of North America's earliest European settlements. It may also have been the site where Henry Hudson wintered in 1611. The post was captured by the French in 1686. Only in 1776 did the HBC re-establish a trading post there. It grew in importance, particularly after the union with the North West Company in 1821. As the number of inland posts increased it took on the role of supplying them by canoe brigade up the Rupert River. From here in the 1930s, the Watts would begin a beaver- conservation system that would save many Cree and the local economy. It would be so successful that it served as a model for sanctuaries that would spread across the North.

Traditional family hunting territories extended up the Rupert, Broadback, Nottaway and Pontax watersheds. Today it is one of only two Cree communities without road access. An all-season road was completed in the winter of 2001. 

Rupert Canoe Brigade

From Rupert's House canoe brigades supplied inland posts at Waswanipi, Mistassini, Nemiscau, Senneterre and Neoskweskau.

Rupert House Canoe Factory

Brigade canoes were constructed by the Cree at this factory.

Angels of Hudson Bay

James Watt, the company factor, and his wife Maud created a system of beaver sanctuaries that would save many Cree when the beaver disappeared and restore northern economies.

Sources: Grand Council of the Crees, Energy Mines and Resources Canada, Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Beaver magazine

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