A homeland for the Cree: Regional development in James Bay, by Richard F. Salisbury

By Richard F. Salisbury

A native land for the Cree is a useful research of ways the 1st James Bay venture used to be negotiated among the Cree and the Quebec govt. Richard Salisbury follows the negotiations which started in 1971 and analyses the alterations to Cree society over a ten-year interval in gentle of the local improvement in James Bay.

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It was improving rapidly from an earlier period of neglect; it had reached the standard of rural school systems in southern Canada of perhaps ten years earlier; it was provided by white officials, through white teachers, in village schools. Involvement of Cree in the provision of that education, and in a concern for its quality, was restricted to a very small number of individuals. None had yet become involved in the regional structures outside the villages that supplied the village school. OTHER SERVICES This pattern of education, in which the service itself is accepted as an integral part of village life but the provision of it is largely in the hands of whites, and the inter-village planning of the service exclusively so, can be seen in most other village services in 1971.

When the first trapline is "trapped out," the hunter begins walking a second one. This ensures a steady harvest of animals, even if the work involved in snowshoeing for miles in deep snow, cutting through the ice behind each beaver dam, and hauling and replacing the traps on the pond bottom between the beaver lodge and the food stores of poplar and aspen, is more strenuous than most other work in modern society (Feit 1979: chap. 8). Each adult beaver provides about fifteen Ibs of meat and one of the most valuable furs for sale.

On the coast the migration upriver to spawn of the whitefish provides more fish than can be eaten during a hectic two weeks in August, when everyone from Fort George congregates at the first rapids to haul out the fish. The summer, when all families lived close together near the post, was both a time for social interaction and a time for preparing for next winters hunting. Preparing equipment, collecting supplies, repairing old materials, and, above all, deciding who would form part of the next winter's hunting group took place at this season.

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