Indigenous·Video

Sharing our traditions: exploring the life and culture of the James Bay Cree

“Sharing our traditions” is a series of segments showcasing Cree culture and knowledge in the James Bay region of Quebec, featured on the CBC TV program Maamuitaau.

Maamuitaau segments feature elders describing and showing cultural practices

Each segment of "Sharing our traditions" follows an elder or other experienced trapper, cook, or knowledge keeper as they demonstrate how to properly complete a traditional task essential to bush life.

This story is part of the CBC Indigenous project Original Voices that highlights a few of the many diverse Indigenous languages that exist across the country.


"Sharing our traditions" is a segment showcasing Cree culture and knowledge featured on the TV show Maamuitaau, a weekly CBC North current affairs program about the James Bay Cree communities in Quebec.

Each "Sharing our traditions" segment follows an elder or other experienced trapper, cook, or knowledge keeper as they demonstrate how to complete a traditional task essential to bush life. Segments have shown how to cook goose over an open fire, craft a decoy out of tamarack branches, smoke walleye or make a basket out of black spruce bark. 

Dumplings with moose meat

In this segment, step into the cooking tent as Mistissini elder Minnie Awashish demonstrates how to prepare dumplings with moose meat. Minnie grew up in the bush and never attended school. Now she shares her extensive knowledge, including the use of medicinal plants and traditional parenting techniques. 

Minnie Awashish shows how to prepare dumplings with moose meat.

4 years ago
Duration 5:20
Minnie Awashish shows how to prepare dumplings with moose meat.

The walking-out ceremony

In Chisasibi, Mabel Rabbitskin describes her grandson Nigel's walking-out ceremony. The walking-out ceremony is an important rite of passage for James Bay Cree toddlers. Usually in the spring, the family gathers at sunrise to mark the moment when the child first sets foot outdoors. 

Mabel Rabbitskin describes her grandson's walking-out ceremony

4 years ago
Duration 5:14
Mabel Rabbitskin describes her grandson's walking-out ceremony

Bear bacon in Whapmagoostui

Whapmagoostui is the most northerly Cree community in Quebec, accessible only by air or by boat. Join elder Sandy Masty as he builds a cooking fire next to his tent and shows how he prepares a Cree delicacy, bear bacon. 

Sandy Masty prepares bear bacon

4 years ago
Duration 5:13
Sandy Masty prepares bear bacon

CBC North's Cree unit produces radio, television, and web coverage for the communities of Eeyou Istchee - the Cree territory in Quebec. Maamuitaau is a weekly current affairs television program, showcasing Cree culture and documentaries. The word "maamuitaau" means "let's get together." The Cree unit also produces two daily radio shows in East Cree, Winschgaoug ("wake up!") and Eyou Dipajimoon ("stories of the people"), and publishes news stories online at CBC North.

For more stories from Eeyou Istchee, follow Cree Media CBC on Facebook.

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