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Cree Nation of Mistissini

Pronunciation Mis-TIS-i-nee or Mis-TI-see-nee
Population 2,445
Location South shore of Lake Mistassini
Other Names

Baie du Poste, Patagoosh, Abatagoushe, Mistassini Post, Maison des Dorvals, Chebmonkoue

A Hudson's Bay Company post was established in 1821 and local Cree began living around the post. Traditional family hunting territories extend across the Mistassini watershed, and into the Marten, Rupert and Eastmain watersheds. From its founding to 1910, this post was fully supplied by canoe brigade from Rupert House. The brigades were fully staffed by Cree and normally run by a Cree head guide. From 1911 to 1925, it appears furs went to Rupert House and supplies came from Oskelaneo. From 1926 to 1948, the canoe brigade operated exclusively through the Oskelaneo route from the railway (although from 1909 to 1925, there had been limited use of a winter sled road from Lake St. Jean to Chibougamau Lake). In 1949, the brigades ran a shorter route from Chibougamau Lake, then being supplied by the new road (later Highway 167) from Lake St. Jean region. By 1964 the road had reached Lake Mistassini and by 1970, it had reached the village. 

Lake Mistassini is the largest naturally-occurring lake in Quebec. The Mistissini Cree operated what is apparently the largest hunting territory of all the James Bay Cree. Many of the residents of Neoskweskau and Nitchequon moved here after those posts closed in the mid-1900s.

Tourist outfitters

Sources: Grand Council of the Crees, Cree Nation of Mistissini, Energy Mines and Resources Canada, The History of the Chibougamau Crees by Jacques Frenette, Hudson's Bay Company Archives, The Rupert That Was by Heb Evans, Dan Carpenter Jr., A Homeland for the Cree by Richard Salisbury

Photo: Cree at Mistissini carving paddle

Cree man carving a paddle in the  "backyard" of his village home, the tent platform on the left, 1966.


Photo: Heb Evans

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