Cree Nation of Waskaganish
|Location||Mouth of Rupert River|
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.
From Rupert's House canoe brigades supplied inland posts at Waswanipi, Mistassini, Nemiscau, Senneterre and Neoskweskau.
Brigade canoes were constructed by the Cree at this factory.
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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