Sharing our traditions: exploring the life and culture of the James Bay Cree
Maamuitaau segments feature elders describing and showing cultural practices
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.
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.
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.
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.