TRIBES

Cree
LOCATION: Subarctic and Great Plains culture areas, specifically James Bay to Saskatchewan River in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Sasktchewan, and Alberta.
POPULATION: 7,000
LANGUAGE: Algonquian
DESCRIPTION:

The Cree are a wide spread nation populating various areas of Canada. Cree members were originally Subarctic peoples living in Northern America where winters are harsh. Different bands began living in different areas. Some lived near Hudson Bay whilst others lived in the forests north of Lake Winnipeg. Many travelled south to live on the Great Plains, consequently becoming known as the Plains Cree.

Cree are recognised for their hunting skills as mammals and fish being the main food source due to weather conditions preventing farming. Their ability to utilise birch bark enabled them to make everyday objects such as utensils and cooking implements, as well as objects of transport and survival, like canoes for hunting and houses for living.

The Cree began trading furs with French explorers in Canada. Cree traded beaver furs for tools, cloth, beads and guns. The new technology of guns introduced a new way of hunting for the Cree. Along with trade goods French Explorers also introduced Catholicism replacing tribal religions.

Cree Indians continue to be a strong community today, with over 200,000 Cree members living in Canada or reservations in Montana. However, many Cree struggle over land rights issues; territory was lost along James Bay to a hydroelectric plant and land at Lubicon Lake in Alberta has become polluted from drillings by oil companies.