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The Taapwaauchaayimiisu (Cree Alternative Suspension Program) is a program originally founded by the YMCAs of Quebec in Montreal in 1999. Since August 2015, during the school year, the Cree Nation Government Department of Justice and Correctional Services has been working in partnership with the YMCAs of Quebec and the Cree School Board to implement and adapt the program to the needs and reality of the Cree Communities of Eeyou/Eenou Istchee. The program is now offered in Mistissini, Chisasibi and Waskaganish.

To have an even greater impact in Eeyou/Eenou Istchee, the title of the program was revised. After discussions with elders and other members about the program’s mission and goals, the expression “Taapwaauchaayimiisu”, meaning Believe in yourself, was chosen as the message that should be communicated to the students attending the program.

Students, ages of 11 to 17, are referred to the program by the school for a period of three to five days. The days are divided into two parts:

  1. Develop and improve the participants’ social skills and self-worth.
  2. Provide a time of reflection allowing the participant to change their attitude towards school and turn their suspension into a positive experience.

Providing assistance during a suspension creates an opportunity to have a positive impact on the students while their problems are still in the early stages. Youth who are referred by school principals to the Cree Alternative Suspension Program receive supervision from highly qualified/trained Youth Primary Workers.


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The beaver pelt drying board shows how the Cree strongly value their traditional way of life based on hunting, fishing and trapping. The snowshoes in the shape of Y to represent the connection with the YMCA and the support that snowshoes offer to a person who wants to reach a destination.

We wish to acknowledge the YMCA’s support and openness in understanding the need to adapt various aspects of the program to our Cree culture and language.



 If you have questions, please contact the Coordinator of Cree Alternative Suspension Program at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 >>Downloadable documents

Alt Sus logo presentation final Thumbnails   Suspension pamphlet 8.5x11 update Thumbnails



Chisasibi Thumbnails Mistissini Thumbnails Waskaganish Thumbnails