Banner DOJCSFunds Storytelling

We wish to illustrate a few of the funded projects to highlight the important role that the initiatives played in Eeyou Istchee, while promoting the Cree values and way of life. Furthermore, we believe that the best source of inspiration for possible applicants, and the greatest reward for funders, is successful projects that have reaped results.

While in the bush

Crime Prevention Camps

Crime Prevention Fund

Some eight years ago, Ronnie Ottereyes and his wife, who both have degrees in counselling, began helping youth address issues of drug and alcohol abuse, vandalism and low self-esteem. After a local general assembly where such youth issues were on the agenda, Ronnie asked himself how he could contribute and help make things better. He discovered that he could be a role model. He had the right background, he did not suffer from substance abuse, and he and his family enjoyed going in the bush to hunt, fish and camp.

Just Like the Cree Ancestors 2

Wilderness Preparation & Guidance Program

Youth Engagement Fund

When speaking to A. Thomas Hester, one gets the sense that he feels fortunate. When he was young, he would spend his summers with his grandparents. With them, he learned about fishing, cleaning and preserving fish. From his Grandfather, he learned how to manoeuver a canoe, set up fishnets, and check them. From his uncles, he learned how to set up traps for groundhogs. He also learned to do things a certain way, to live according to the seasons, like Cree people used to do: fish in summer and early fall. When he was old enough, he could do it with confidence, by himself.

Reintegration in the community

Mistissini Lake Picnic Areas Reconditioning Project

Corrections Fund

Jim MacLeod, the first policeman in Mistissini and retired Police Chief, knows well the reality that detainees face when they get out of detention and come back home. It is difficult for them to reintegrate in the community and to get a job.

Cree Art to Foster Stronger Community 1

Mikwchiyam Art Concentration Program

Crime Prevention Fund

David Hodges first encountered Mistissini students as a visiting musician who worked with youth to mix and produce songs and music videos. The experience garnered David positive feedback from the participating youth who came away feeling inspired and hopeful, as well as from their parents who encouraged the kids to get creative. The Justice Funds program recognized David’s passion to reconnect youth and high-risk youth with creativity and to build a supportive artistic Cree community, as well as the value of this initiative as a crime prevention strategy.

Preparing Cree Youth for the Future

Wilderness Camp

Youth Engagement Fund

For five years now, David Cheechoo has been running a youth wilderness camp alongside his wife – Greta Wiskychan Cheechoo - as they continue their commitment to the youth of the Cree Nation. Together with experienced staff, they bring interested youth out onto the land where they can be comfortable and concentrate in a natural, traditional setting, and benefit from this kind of traditional connection. “The wilderness is the best platform for youth to prepare for their life journey,” says David, “the land helps them to receive the knowledge and wisdom they need to go forward.”

Connecting To The Land To Survive And Thrive

Wilderness Mobile Healing Lodge

Crime Prevention Fund

Since the 1980s, Charlie Louttit has been actively examining his own personal life and self-care, his Cree identity and relationship with elders, and his role in the Cree community. With a lengthy career in counselling and community justice work, he is focused on utilizing his skills to best serve his people. This year was no exception and his Wilderness Mobile Healing Lodge for Cree youth set out on the land once again for a month-long healing journey.

Our Cree Ancestors Guide Us

Traditional Shelter Project

Corrections Fund

“My father gave me my identity,” says David Erless, who was taken out of school and into the bush by his father when he was a teenager, to help his father on the land. His father understood the importance of living off the land and knew that traditional values and culture would give David the best education possible. David soon faced the same hardships as his ancestors, especially during winter, and was spending up to 11 months of the year in the bush hunting, fishing, and trapping.

A truly Cree Treatment Program

Waskaganish Adult Mobile Treatment Program

Corrections Fund

Kenneth Weistche, his wife and his staff know it all too well, and they know both sides. Luckily, they are all sober, or in recovery, and many are graduates of the mobile treatment program. They understand the approach, the context and they want to give back and help their peers heal, in a Cree fashion.