For the Crees of Eastmain, the river was a life-supporting artery, a highway linking them to their traditional hunting territories, the places that sustained them.

The lower Eastmain River died when the river was diverted, as part of the James Bay Project, into Sakami Lake so the water could flow north to feed the new hydro-electric dams on the La Grande River (formerly Ft. George River). What followed was a staggering cultural and economic upheaval wrought on the Crees of Eastmain and Ft. George (today Chisasibi) of northern Quebec. 

Photo: Eastmain River before diversion Conglomerate Gorge on the lower Eastmain River, flowing freely before the 1979 diversion of 100 per cent of its flow.



Photo: Heb Evans, 1968

Photo: Eastmain River after diversion

Conglomerate after the diversion. You can now walk across the old bed where the rapids rumbled and waterfalls tumbled.

Photo: Brian Back, 1991

In the top photo, the Crees' portage was along the right shore from where this photo was taken. The bottom photo was taken from the bridge that was built in 1972 for the project's construction.

Map: Eastmain River diversion

   Home   Rupert Battle   Rupert River   Temagami   Che-Mun

    Forum   Crees   Camps   Canoes   Keewaydin Way   Search   About   Contact Us

Maps and information herein are not intended for navigational use, and are not represented to be correct in every respect. 
All pages intended for reference use only, and all pages are subject to change with new information and without notice. 
The author/publisher accepts no responsibility or liability for use of the information on these pages. 
Wilderness travel and canoeing possess inherent risk. 
 It is the sole responsibility of the paddler and outdoor traveler to determine whether he/she is qualified for these activities.
Copyright  2000-2014 Brian Back.  All rights reserved.
We do not endorse and are not responsible for the content of any linked document on an external site.