Ouje-Bougoumou

The history of Ouje-Bougoumou Cree Nation is a story of the determination of a small community of Cree aboriginal people to overcome the spread of mining and forestry industries.

This small group of people pursued for centuries their traditional way of life based on hunting and fishing. However, as mineral deposits were identified in increased quantities, mining camps were founded here. They gave way to settlements which eventually gave way to towns. As the mining activities increased the Ouje-Bougoumou people came to be seen as an obstacle to industrial growth of the country.

The nation was forced to relocate their villages time after time to make way for new mines. But the Ouje-Bougoumou people refused to disappear. The people decided to make the stand and take the rightful place in the region as the original inhabitants and the centuries-old stewards of the land.

After a lengthy political struggle, Ouje-Bougoumou won recognition by the Government of Canada and by the Government of the Province of Quebec of the right to live as a community. The nation began to re-build the village and restore the community life which had been shattered.

Intensive discussions were held between the people and the representatives of the province of Quebec since 1984. After several years of these discussions and negotiations an agreement was reached in 1989 whereby Quebec agreed to contribute financially toward the construction of a new village, while also acknowledging a degree of local jurisdiction over a portion of the Ouje-Bougoumou Cree traditional territory.

History of relocations of the Ouje-Bougoumou Crees:

  • Hudson Bay Post: 1914 - 1929
  • Chibougamau Post: 1929 - 1942
  • Cedar Bay: 1943 - 1951
  • Campbell Point: 1943 - 1951
  • Hamel Island: 1950 - 1952
  • Swampy Point: 1952 - 1962
  • Dore Lake: 1962 - 1974
  • Six Camp Location: 1974 - 1989
  • Lac Opemiska: 1989 to present

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