Cree Hunters & Trappers Income Security Board
Director General and Trapper, Québec City
“It is rewarding to work for such a noble cause. The Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Board was formed to administer the Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Program which is part of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement signed in 1975. The Program encourages Cree to pursue their traditional harvesting activities.
In the face of new economic opportunities in the region, the Cree culture and their connection with the land is under pressure. The Cree people negotiated and continue to help run the program because they recognize the need to preserve and promote their traditional way of life.
Currently, the program serves 1200 families in all 10 Cree communities. By providing program participants with support and income guarantees they are able to continue to live off the land. This is important in many ways.
When the people are harvesting wild foods they are not only connecting with their land. They are also reconnecting with their culture and traditions, practicing their language which is often no longer practiced in their established communities, and strengthening their family bonds. In North America we are worried about the loss of biodiversity and species. What we forget is that we are losing diversity of cultures and languages.