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The Iiyiyuu-Iinuu - Our people

We are the Crees of Iiyiyuuschii. We call ourselves Iiyiyuu1 and Iinuu2. Our name means, simply, “the people.” There are 16,000 of us, based in nine communities. The five communities located along the coast, which we call wiinipakw (“the sea”) are Waskaganish, Eastmain, Wemindji, Chisasibi and Whapmagoostui. The four villages located inland (nuuchimiich) are Waswanipi, Nemaska, Oujé-Bougoumou and Mistissini.

For thousands of years we lived off the land by hunting, fishing and trapping. Respect and gratitude were the values that guided us, respect and gratitude to the land and all it contained, to our families and the people who came before us, and to the Creator for all that was given us. Woven through these values were certain fundamentals: courage and patience, sharing and self-reliance.

For so long our identity was shaped by our relationship to the land, the animals and to each other. The challenge facing us today is how to be Cree in this rapidly changing world.

  • 1. In the dialect of the more northerly and coastal communities.
  • 2. In the dialect of the southerly, inland communities.