A collection of stories of traditional Swampy Cree life and culture in northern Canada.
In Voices from Hudson Bay Cree elders recall the daily lives and experiences of the men and women who lived and worked at the Hudson's Bay Company post at York Factory in Manitoba. Their stories, their memories of family, community, and daily life, define their past and provide insights into a way of life that has largely disappeared in northern Canada.
The era the elders describe, from the end of World War I to the closing of York Factory in 1957, saw dramatic changes - both positive and negative - to aboriginal life in the North. The extension of Treaty 5 in 1910 to include members of the York Factory band, the arrival of police and government agents, and the shifting economy of the fur trade are all discussed. Despite these upheavals, however, the elders' accounts demonstrate the continuity of northern life in the twentieth century, from the persistence of traditional ways to the ongoing role of community and kinship ties.
Perceptions of aboriginal life have been shaped largely by non-Native accounts that offer limited views of Swampy Cree history and record little beyond the social and economic interaction that was part of life in the fur trade. The stories in this collection provide Cree perspectives on northern life and history, and represent the legacy of a younger generation of aboriginal people.